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By Gilbert Stuart 






I coafess I do not admire contention in any form, either political or civil. 

—Dolly P. Madison 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1914 


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress 

at Washington 

Gift from 

Robert L. Owen 
Nov. 4, 1931 



their residence in Washington, were the hosts 
of the Dolly Madison Chapter, Daughters of 
the American Revolution, the evening of May 19, 1911. 
At their request a paper was prepared for the entertain- 
ment of the guests. That paper is the nucleus of this 
elaboration. If, perchance, the reader is entertained, the 
acknowledgment is due to them. 

The Public Ledger, Philadelphia. June 2, 1912, in an 
interesting article, says that Dolly Madison, probably 
above all other American women, has, for some not any 
too well understood reason, been regarded with a sym- 
pathetic and sentimental interest. And, The Evening 
Star, in its able editorial column, May 12, 1912, has: 
"A little myth is mixed with her fame, but that is to be 
allowed for. It inheres in all fame." That the unfad- 
ing fame of Mrs. Madison has its foundation more on 
fact or more on fancy, the reader, it is believed, has, 
within these pages, sufficient evidence to pass judgment. 

Deal gently with us, ye who read ! 

— Oliver Wendell Holmes. 



1. 1768—1799 ------... 7 

H. 1800—1808 35 

III. 1809—1811 97 

IV. 1812—1816 - 125 

V. 1817—1830 203 

VI. 1831 — 1834 241 

VII. 1835—1840 265 

VIII. 1841 — 1844 303 

IX. 1845—1847 353 

X. 1848—1849 401 

XI. Apropos - 483 

Dolly Madison Breakfast - - - - - - 497 

Appendix A. Cutts' Genealogy 501 

B. Will of John Todd, Junior 502 

C. Will of Dolly P. Madison 503 

D. Disposition of personal effects of Mrs. 

Madison 504 

E. Catalogue of portraits of Mrs. Madison - 505 

F. Letter of Mrs. Bushrod Washington - - 507 
G. Period Costumes at National Museum - - 507 

Index to Names ----._ 509 


Mrs. Madison. By Gilbert Stuart — Frontispiece. Page 

Scotch Town, Virginia -------- 6 

231 New Street, Philadelphia 12 

150 North Third Street, Philadelphia 20 

153 South Fourth Street, Philadelphia 24 

Harewood, West Virginia - 40 

Harewood, Interior --------- 44 

429 Spruce Street, Philadelphia 52 

Mrs. Madison. By James Peale - - - ■ - - -56 

Six Buildings, Washington, D. C. 72 

2411 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D. C. - - -76 

Mr. and Mrs. Madison. By T. C. Liebers ... - 84 

Mrs. Thomas Law. By Gilbert Stuart ----- 88 

Sydney, District of Columbia ------- 1 04 

Carroll Row, Washington, D. C. - 108 

Letter — Mrs. Madison to Mr. Latrobe - - 112 

Anthony Morris. By James Peale - - - - - - 1 1 6 

The President's House 120 

The Octagon, Washington, D. C. - - - - - 136 

Seven Buildings, Washington, D. C, 1816 - - - 140 

Montpellier, Virginia 148 

Dr. William Thornton. By Gilbert Stuart - 152 

Mrs. William Thornton. By Gilbert Stuart - - - - 1 68 

Marcia Burnes. By James Peale 172 

Cottage of David Burnes - - - - - - - -180 

1202 D Street, Washington, D. C. 188 

Mansion Square, Washington, D. C. - - - - - 196 

Mrs. John P. Van Ness. By Charles B. King - - - 200 

John Peter Van Ness 208 

Rosedale, District of Columbia -216 

Mrs. Madison's draft of letter to President Jackson - - 224 

The Highlands, District of Columbia 232 

St. John's Church, Washington, D. C. 248 

Dolly Madison House, Washington, D. C. - - - - 264 

Belle Vue, Washington, D. C. - - 280 

Mrs. Madison. From Engraving of Portrait by Joseph Wood 296 

Friendship, District of Columbia 312 

Mrs. Madison. By Fleming 328 

Brentwood, District of Columbia ------ 344 

Mrs. Madison. By W. S. Elwell - 360 

Kalorama, District of Columbia - - - - - - 376 

John Payne Todd 392 

Mrs. Tobias Lear - - 408 

Mrs. Richard Bland Lee 424 

Mrs. William Craig - 440 











THE incomparable Dolly! It is not irreverent of 
Dorothea Payne Madison; it is expressive of 
admiration and affection. The superiority in 
comparison is only an attempt to adequately aggregate 
her attractive attributes. The queens of our chosen kings 
are a long line; a line all strung with gems, each with 
especial excellence, but Queen Dolly sparkles the most. 
An adoring and affectionate wife was Mrs. Washington; 
and when her husband entered she arose and said "The 
President." No hero of the times that evolved the 
Revolution and consummated it is entitled to greater 
honor than the heroine, Abigail Smith Adams. Mrs. 
Adams could cultivate a farm, raise children, spin 
cloth, study literature, teach herself French, and do all 
manner of wonderful things, all at the same time; and 
write besides the chattiest letters and letters political 
and philosophical. And how she could write — she 
was the equal of the elder Adams and the younger 
Adams, and nothing more can be added of letter-writ- 
ing praise. Mrs. Adams was the mistress of the Ex- 
ecutive Mansion from November 16, 1800, to March 
4, 1801. She, in scriptural paraphrase, said: ''I am a 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

mortal enemy to anything but a cheerful countenance 
and merry heart," and in this King Cole spirit while 
living in "the Castle" kept the fires going "to secure 
from daily agues"; and, in absence of fence, yard or 
other convenience, used the great unfinished audience- 
room to hang up the clothes in. It is items like these, 
that Mrs. Adams has preserved, that make history 
worth reading. 

It is only fair to say this much of Mrs. Adams — for 
she in four months exercised her housewife ability to 
have in readiness "the Castle" for Mrs. Madison's reign 
of sixteen years. Mr. Jefferson was a widower, and 
in the absence of his daughters, and they were almost 
always absent, Mrs. Madison, the wife of the Secre- 
tary of State, was the first lady by substitution; and, 
of course, was in the succeeding eight years that in her 
own right. 

Letters are conversation — conversation expressed with 
more care and deliberateness than by spoken language. 
Letters express thought and the thought expressed ex- 
hibits the character. The spirit of the letter indicates 
that of the writer as vivacious or slow, gay or sad. The 
style reflects the culture ; and the conformity to rules 
shows the education. 

Letters live and the writers die. The scene of the 
letter is always acted although the actors have long 
since made exit. 

Letters suggest life — the mind is there in the phras- 
ing; the hand is there that pushed the penning. Letters 
awaken memory — the absent or gone return — the men- 
tal mirror has a more perfect presence than a painted 
portrait. Letters recreate the unseen writer; the reader 
imagines the writer; from the letter catches the soul 
and gives it a human form. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

In Dolly Madison's day letters had a superior ex- 
cellence. More brilliancy of thought then and more 
uniqueness of telling. Variety, freshness and style are 
opposite the commonplaces of these machine days. 
Quaint are the old letters with their lazy abbreviations 
and simple punctuation. If the letters that have been 
preserved are exponents, the writers wrote for the gen- 
erations. The letters quoted are all in the appropriate 
styles of the rhetoric. Some of the friendship letters 
are talking letters (in their naturalness, the best of all) ; 
others are clothed in courtesy with classic ornaments, 
but whatever their style or their contents, they will be 
passed by with brief comment, or none at all, for to the 
intelligent the apparent needs no pointing and the well- 
said needs no re-saying. 

Dorothea Payne was born May 20, 1768. Her 
mother's maiden name was Mary Coles. Mary was the 
daughter of William Coles and Lucy Winston.* Wil- 
liam was Irish and hailed from Enniscarthy, on the 
River Sliney, in the County Wexford, Ireland. Her 
father was John Payne, son of John Payne, senior, an 
Englishman, who married Ann Fleming, of Scotch 
parentage and noble lineage. 

John Payne, junior, soon after his marriage, pur- 
chased an estate in Hanover County, Virginia, within 
driving distance of his father's plantation and of Coles 
Hill, the plantation of his father-in-law — neither far 
distant from the James River and the city of Rich- 
mond. The son's mansion was called Scotch Town. 

Dorothea smiled first in North Carolina, where her 
parents were on a visit. She was named in honor of 
Dorothea Spotswood Dandridge, granddaughter of 

♦Memorandum in Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison in the 
Public Library, District of Columbia. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Alexander Spotswood, the Governor. This Dorothea 
successively married Patrick Henry and Edmund 
Winston, notable men, and cousins of our Dorothea's 
mother.* Dorothea was the eldest daughter. Doro- 
thea had these brothers and sisters who reached major- 
ity, although the accuracy of the list is not claimed: 
William, Isaac, Temple, John, Walter, Lucy, Anna and 
Mary. Dorothea was quickly changed to Dolly. 

Dolly's parents joined the Society of Friends soon after 
marriage. True to the tenets of the Society, they manu- 
mitted their slaves. They were inclined to locate in 
Philadelphia, the stronghold of the sect. A preliminary 
visit was made. 

Journal of Elizabeth Drinker : 

1781, March 5. Molly Payne spent ye day, and 
lodged with us. She and son Walter breakfasted ye 6th. 

Evidently favorably impressed with the plan, they exe- 
cuted it. Their servers did not accept release from servi- 
tude with favor and Mother Amy made the migration 
with the family and continued in its service; and from 
her savings of wages to her mistress bequeathed five hun- 
dred dollars. f 

Journal of Elizabeth Drinker: 

1783, July 9. John Payne's family came to reside in 

It is said that the Paynes were entertained at the 
Drinker's who lived at the corner of Front street and 
Drinker's alley (now effaced) until they secured a home 
for themselves.f 

*Dolly Madison. Maud Wilder Goodwin. 

$The Paynes * * * only stopped at their friend's house until 
they could obtain a house of their own. Where this was located is 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The Philadelphia Directory, 1785. By Francis White: 

John Paine, Merchant. Fifth between Market and 
Arch streets. 

Between the Drinkers and Paynes was affiliation for 
Elizabeth Drinker's father like Mary Payne's, familiarly 
Molly, was a native of the county, Wexford, in the old 

Journal of Elizabeth Drinker : 

1784, July 10. Sally Drinker and Walter Payne, 
Billey Sansom and Polly Wells, Jacob Downing and 
Dolly Payne, went to our place at Frank ford. Dolly and 
Josey Sansom and Nancy Drinker (from Par La Ville) 
met them there. A squabble. Nancy returned home in 
ye evening with her sister. 

Through Haddonfield, New Jersey, two leagues from 
Camden, runs ye King's Highway, as says the tablet: 

This street was laid out and surveyed in 1681 by order 
of the representatives of the King of England, and called 
"Ye King's Highway." 

Ancient buttonwoods line the highway, these button- 
woods, which, in vain, endeavor to match their antiquity 
are considerably over an hundred feet tall. The king had 
forethought of a need of a highway for says the second 
tablet : 

The British army passed under these trees after evac- 
uating Philadelphia, June, 1778. 

not known, but in 1785 John Payne, according to MacPherson's 
Directory, lived at 410 Third street. The site of this structure, after 
considerable investigation, had been found to be that of the present 
building now numbered 57 North Third street, the fourth house 
below Arch street, on the east side. — Public Ledger, June 2, 1912. 
*The Journal of Elizabeth Drinker. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

On the King's Highway is the mansion that disdains 
the decays of time, for it was built in 1750. Soon after 
its putting up, it became the property of Hugh Creighton, 
who made of it, a tavern, and of himself, the tavern's 
keeper. The State of New Jersey was born there and 
therein is a tablet whereon it is told. 

Mr. Creighton's tavern has another distinction. W. 
Jay Mills, in Historic Houses of New Jersey, has : 

The visits to Haddonfield were bright spots in Dolly 
Payne's early life. Hugh Creighton was not a strict 
Friend, and his wife, Mary French, was a woman of most 
lovable character, with a heart large enough to take in all 
the world's people who chanced to cross her quiet path- 
way. Tavern keeping in the eighties of the eighteenth 
century, although an honorable and profitable occupation 
in Southern Jersey, was frowned upon by the generality 
of Friends, as their discipline did not permit them to look 
on it with favor. Life at her uncle's* genial hearth was 
much broader than in her own home at Philadelphia. In 
the former place she obtained some of her first impres- 
sions of days untinctured by the gray shadows of the 
meeting house. 

As a girl of eighteen in the year 1786, she is described 
as being of slight figure, possessing a delicately oval face, 
a nose tilted like a flower, jet black hair, and blue eyes of 
wondrous sweetness. Those beautiful eyes, with their 
power to scintillate with playfulness or mellow with 
sympathy, wrought great havoc with the hearts of the 
Quaker lads of Haddonfield. Although many years have 
flown since she tripped through the quiet streets and 
lanes of the place her memory is alive there. Elderly 
people still repeat what their fathers and grandfathers 
once said of her, and from the glowing tributes paid to 
her youthful charms it is easy to imagine that many a 

*The writer thinks "Uncle" and "Aunt" Creighton are familiar 
and not family endearments. 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

good Quaker lad's love was laid at her shrine. * * * 
In those early Haddonfield days she often took frolicsome 
rides with her cousins in the mail coaches that stopped 
twice daily at the tavern, driving a mile or two out on 
the highway and walking home. 

* * * Commodore James P. Cooper, U. S. N., 
who died in the town in 1854, aged ninety-three years, 
was often her devoted attendant on these occasions and 
on berrying excursions, and in later life never tired of 
singing her praises. * * * 

Many times during the year "Aunt Creighton" drove 
to Trenton to visit friends on Queen st, generally taking 
the young people with her. Those trips with her kind 
aunt delighted the merry Quakeress, who with her love 
of fine things, inherited no doubt from her courtly an- 
cestors, the Coles and the Flemings. Wandering through 
Green St., and Pinkerton alley shops and fingering the 
"world's goods" she was as happy as any maiden of to-day 
out for the first time on a shopping expedition. 

Harriet Taylor Upton — in Our Early Presidents, 
Their Wives and Children: 

She was wondrously fair. Her mother, who would 
not permit her to wear jewels, taught her to take care of 
her complexion. She was sent to school with long gloves 
on her hands and arms, a close sunbonnet and a white 
linen mask on her face; in fact it is plain to see that in 
many ways great attention was bestowed upon the out- 
ward as well as the inward graces of the young Friend. 
* * * There is in existence still belonging to this 
period, a delicate gray satin Quaker gown, with elbow 
sleeves and square neck worn by the young beauty — 
Dolly certainly may be called a beauty. 

Mr. Payne, an educated man, took celebrity as a lay 
preacher or Public Friend and on the First Day in the 
Meeting House removed his broad-brim and with his 
eloquence moved his hearers. It still stands the Free 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Quaker Meeting House at the southwest corner of Fifth 
and Mulberry streets and used for the Apprentices' Free 

John Todd, senior, was a pedagogue. He taught the 
r's, and while so doing, to appease his brutal nature, ap- 
plied on pretexts constant castigations. His was the 
Quaker school for boys on Fourth street below Chesnut 
and known as Proud's School. Robert Proud was the 
early historian of Pennsylvania and his portrait is in its 
Historical Society.f 

Directories of Philadelphia : 

1785. John Todd, Schoolmaster, corner of Fourth and 

Chesnut streets. 
1791 103, Chestnut. 

1793 103, Chestnut. 

"In that delighted land which is washed by the Dela- 
ware waters" Dolly passed her budding womanhood. 
"And her ear was pleased with the Thee and Thou of 
the Quakers;" and for one she resigned her name for 
his. However it was the paternal dictation to which she 
yielded and that she had said to the proposal she "never 
meant to marry."t After the formidable formalities of 
the church, she and John Todd, junior, were married, 
January 27, 1790. Elizabeth Collins was the bridesmaid 
and Anthony Morris, the groomsman. § And on the reg- 
ister the witnesses signed their names, John, James, Mary 
and Alice Todd, the bridegroom's relatives; John and 

* Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison: 

Dolly Madison. Maud Wilder Goodwin. 

^Annals of Philadelphia. John F. Watson. 
Public Ledger, June 2, 1912. 

XMemoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

§Statcd by descendants. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mary Payne, Lucy, Anna and Mary, the bride's relatives 
and sixty others.* The bride was in her twenty-second 
year and the groom in his twenty-seventh — for he was 
born, November 17, 1763. The wedding was solemnized 
in the Friends' Meeting-House on Pine street, since razed. 
Todd practiced law and had a lucrative practice.! 

The bride and groom went to housekeeping at 85 
Chesnut street next to the corner of Third. The site is 
now numbered 231.$ 

Philadelphia Directory, 1791: 

John Todd, Esq., Attorney at law 85, Chesnut. 

Lucy, Dolly's sister, in 1792, at the age of fifteen, mar- 
ried George Steptoe Washington, a nephew, and favorite 
of General Washington. George Steptoe inherited from 
his father, Samuel, "Harewood," in Jefferson county, 
Virginia. The father had a love for the chase — he had 
for it his trained stud of horses and pack of dogs; and 
his love was not confined to the chase for he had a line of 
wives that did not stop until the count of five.§ 

Philadelphia Directory, 1791 : 

*Dolly Madison. Maud Wilder Goodwin. 

^Public Ledger, June 2, 1912. 

JCharles Godfrey Leland : "I was born in a house on Chestnut 
street, the second door below Third street, on the north side. It 
had been built in the old Colonial time, and in the room in which I 
first saw life there was an old chimney piece which was so remark- 
able that strangers visiting the city often came to see it. * * * 
It was then a boarding house kept by Mrs. Rodgers. She had 
taken it from a lady who also kept it for boarders. The daughter 
of this latter married President Madison. She was known as 
'Dolly Madison,' famous for her grace, accomplishments and belle 
humeur, of whom there are stories still current in Washington." 
This is 85 Chestnut street, old numbering. A. C. C. 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

John Paine, Starch maker. 89 Elm St.* 

Mr. Payne, because of inexperience in commercial mat- 
ters or because of the severe stringency of the times, made 
a failure. The loss consequent to the liberation of slaves 
and that of the business changed affluence to dependence. 
The change of circumstances made a change of spirit — 
from cheer to chagrin; and a change from soundness to 
sickness. He died October 24, 1792, and was buried in 
the Free Quaker burial ground on Fifth street near Lo- 
cust, now no more. He by will gave his wife his entire 
estate and the exclusive executorship. The property was 
in lands in Kentucky and Virginia. George Walker and 
John Todd were the witnesses. 

Mrs. Payne during her husband's life and after his 
death — 1791'2'3 — was engaged in the arduous task of 
keeping a boarding establishment. 

Philadelphia Directory, 1793: 

Mary Payne, widow, boarding house, 96 N. Third st. 

The structure stands; it is 150 N. Third — present num- 
bering.! It was patronized by the prominent politically 
and the proprietress had social prominence. She declined 
business in 1793 and lived with her daughter, Lucy. 

Joseph Jackson, who has the pen of a ready writer and 
can accomplish a diligent search, is the authority that 
Dolly Todd lived at 231 New Street, 150 North Third 
Street, and when Dolly Madison at 429 Spruce Street, 

*In Public Ledger, June 2, 1912, reproduced "231 New street, 
where Dolly Madison's father made starch and where she lived 
when she married John Todd." 

^Public Ledger, June 2, 1912. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mr. Todd, Dolly's husband, bought, November 23, 
1791, from the estate of Jonathan Dil worth, the site 
where is now 149 and 153 So. Fourth and 341 and 343 
Walnut. Number 51 then, 153 now, is where John and 
Dolly lived and where were born the sons, John Payne, 
February 29, 1792, and William Temple in the summer of 
1793; both namesakes of Dolly's brothers. 

In the summer, the city was scourged with yellow fever. 
The pestilence made heroes and proved cowards. Mr. 
Todd was a hero. 

In the Journal of Elizabeth Drinker, August 23, 1793, 
is, "A fever prevails in the City * * * of ye malig- 
nant kind ;" and November 2, same year, "What a favor- 
able reverse, which calls for humility and thanks." Daily, 
between the dates is a terrible tale. 

Thomas Jefferson to James Madison 

Sept. 8, 1793. 

* * * The yellow fever increases. The week before 
last about 3. a day died. This last week about 11. a day 
have died, consequently, from known data about 33, a 
day are taken, and there are about 330. patients under it. 
They are much scattered through the town, and it is the 
opinion of the physicians that there is no possibility of 
stopping it. They agree that it is a nondescript disease, 
and no two agree in any one part of their process of cure. 
The Presidt goes off the day after tomorrow, as he had 
always intended. Knox then takes flight. Hamilton* is 
ill of the fever, as is said. He had two physicians out at 
his house the night before last. His family think him in 
danger, & he puts himself so by his excessive alarm. He 
had been miserable several days before from a firm per- 
suasion he should catch it. A man as timid as he is on the 
water, as timid on horseback, as timid in sickness, would 

*Alexander Hamilton. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

be a phaenomenon if his courage of which he has the repu- 
tation in military occasions were genuine. His friends, 
who have not seen him, suspect it is only an autumnal 
fever he has. I would really go away, because I think 
there is rational danger, but that I had announced that I 
should not go till the beginning of October, & I do not 
like to exhibit the appearance of panic. Besides that 
I think there might be serious ills proceed from there 
being not a single member of the administration in place. 
Poor Hutcheson dined with me on Friday was sennight, 
was taken that night on his return home, & died the day 
before yesterday. 

Mr. Todd removed his wife, at the time in a critical 
condition, and the two sons to Gray's Ferry, a rural 
pleasure place on the Schuylkill's banks. He left her 
with the promise of returning and leaving her no more 
until the exigency expired. He, in the city, did for his 
clients what required immediate doing; and, in the city, 
he found his father and mother victims of the epidemic. 
Both parents died* and John Todd, the father, made a 
will making his sons John and James and Samuel Jones, 
executors, in which he bequeathed to his son John five 
hundred pounds ; to his grandsons, John Payne and Wil- 
liam Temple Todd, fifty pounds each; his silver watch 
to his son, John, in trust for John Payne or in case of 
his death, for William Temple; the residue of the estate 
to his five grandchildren. 

Mr. Todd on his return bore with him the diead dis- 
ease. At the threshold, he to Dolly's mother said: "I 
feel the fever in my veins, but I must see her once 
more."f In a few hours he was dead — "a martyr to 
professional duty." In the embrace was contamination. 

*In the Journal of Elizabeth Drinker the father's death is re- 
ported October 3 ; the mother's October 12. 
^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The younger child died and Dolly recovered. Mr. Todd 
died October 24, 1793. He by a will in sentimental and 
sermonical sentencing gave his widow an estate of value. 
Appendix A. 

Philadelphia directories : 

1793. John Todd, jun. Esq. attorney at law 51 So 
Fourth St. 

1794. Dorothy Todd, widow, 51 So. Fourth St. 

Twenty-five and a widow! Not her fault surely and 
surely she felt her fascination. The sympathy, the pro- 
tection, the admiration, the adoration and all that from 
the hypnotized men a widow has. Any widow that — but 
Dolly was so charm ful, so youthful — no wonder her 
friend bid "Hide thy face — there are so many staring 
at thee"; and so good to see that ''gentlemen would sta- 
tion themselves where they might see her pass." 

Among Dolly's acquaintances was the New York Sen- 
ator, Aaron Burr, of reputation — irresistible to the sex of 
skirts and no wise self-restrictive of his irresistibility. Of 
Burr, Madison solicited a meeting with the pretty widow. 
She writes to her confidante, Mrs. Lee, she who was 
Elizabeth Collins, 1794: 

Thou must come to me, — Aaron Burr says that the 
great little Madison has asked to be brought to see me 
this evening. 

The rumor of an engagement soon reached the Exe- 
cutive Mansion; it did not have to travel fast as from 
Dolly's house it was only several blocks distant ; definitely, 
the mansion was on Market street near Sixth. Mrs. 
Washington from the privilege of station or the standing 
of relationship — the Payne and Washington families hav- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ing intermarried — she exercised feminine curiosity and 
arrogance of advice. The inquisitor paid deference to 
Dolly's sect in the use of its peculiar personal pronouns ; 
or whoever made the report, made it that way : 

Mrs. Washington: "Dolly, is it true that you are en- 
gaged to James Madison?" 

Dolly: "No; I think not." 

Mrs. W. : "If it is so, do not be ashamed to confess it; 
rather be proud; he will make thee a good husband, 
and all the better for being so much older. We both 
approve of it; the esteem and friendship existing be- 
tween Mr. Madison and my husband is very great, and 
we would wish thee to be happy."* 

The fragments of a love letter in the courtship days! 
Dolly had visited her people in the scenes of her child- 
hood. At Fredericksburg, on the way to her sister, 
Lucy, she wrote to the aspirant an encouraging note — it 
had an endearing stile. Of Mr. Madison's letter, in turn, 
words are lost in the folds of the three part pages pre- 

Orange Aug: 18. 94: I rec d some days ago your pre- 
cious favor from Freds. I cannot exprefs, but hope you 
will conceive the joy it gave me. The delay in hearing of 
your leaving Hanover which I regarded as the only satis- 
factory proof of your recovery, had filled me with ex- 
treme * * * inquietude, and the consummation of 
that welcome event was endeared to me by the stile in 
which it was conveyed. I hope you will never have an- 
other deliberation on that subject. If the sentiments of 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

fin the handwriting of Mrs. Madison — ''Part of a letter from 
Mr Madison to Mrs Todd Aug: 18. 1794" 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

my heart can guarantee those of yours, they assure me 
there can never be a cause for it. 

Mr. Madison's letter says that he is indefinitely de- 
tained by the illness of a foreigner with whom he was to 
travel. He says that it is cruel he should be obliged to 
mingle with the delicious hopes imparted by her letter, 
the painful apprehensions of delay; that the adverse in- 
cident is the more mortifying as he had spared no efforts 
and made some sacrifices to meet her. And he hopes that 
the unavoidable delay will not extend its influence to the 
epoch in which he is to repeat the claim of which she is 

Suits in love should not, 
Like suits in law, be rock'd from term to term. 

Madison was a lawyer ; he knew the reason and result 
of dilatory tactics in law suits ; he sought a speedy deci- 
sion in his love suit. He that called a-wooing was much 
a man, with a tongue for persuasion, but it is a fact that 
Dolly hesitated and, perhaps better to take the issue under 
advisement, retired to quietude. Mrs. Dolly Todd with 
her infant and younger sister, Anna, visited her sister 
Lucy, and her husband, George Steptoe Washington, at 
their estate, Harewood, in the vicinity of Charlestown, 
West Virginia. From there she addressed a letter to 
Mr. Wilkins, her counsel at Philadelphia, seeking advice. 
This law-learned gentleman with the alliterative name 
was on the most friendly relation with the widow. His 
penmanship was almost perfect, however his habit of 
slightly enlarging the first letter of the word sometimes 
makes it difficult to decide if a capital is intended. Mr. 
Wilkins had his office at 119 S. Second Street, original 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

M" Dolley P. Todd 
particular Care of Martinsburg 
Geo. Washington Jim. Esq Virginia. 

Philadelphia August 22nd 1794. 

I will not delay a moment my ever dear and valued 
friend to reply to your last interesting Epistle. Flattered 
as I am by your Condescension in consulting me on this 
important Occasion and truly and disinterestedly solicit- 
ous for your Welfare — the Task I undertake is far from 
being a painful one. As your friend I feel not the least 
Hesitation in forming my Opinion — ought I then feel 
any reluctance in communicating it? 

M r M — n is a man whom I admire. I know his attach- 
ment to you and did not therefore content myself with 
taking his Character from the Breath of popular applause 
— but consulted those who knew him intimately in private 
Life. His private Character therefore I have every 
reason to believe is good and amiable. He unites to the 
great Talents which have secured his public Approbation 
those engaging Qualities that contribute so highly to 
domestic Felicity. To such a man therefore I do most 
freely consent that my beloved sister be united and happy. 

Yes my dear and amiable Julia you have my fullest 
and freest Approbation of the Step you are about to take. 
No Wish is dearer to my Heart than your Happiness & 
Heaven is my Witness that nothing is less selfish than my 
Attachment to you. That I have not been insensible to 
your Charms ought not I think to be regarded as a Fault 
— few perfons in similar Situations would not have felt 
their irresistible Influence; but none I will venture to say 
could have mingled in their Emotions more true Respect 
and more Fraternal Affection than I have. 

With respect to the Settlement on your Son I will give 
you my sentiments frankly. You are placed in a critical 
situation in this Affair — the Eyes of the World are upon 
you and your Enemies have already opened their Mouths 
to censure and condemn you. I hope you will disappoint 
them — I believe you will now be just — for you have hith- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

erto always been generous. I must confefs I conceive it 
to be your duty to make some Settlement upon him and I 
know you too well to doubt your Inclination to do it. 
The only Question can be to what Amount and in what 
Manner shall this Settlement be made. 

M r M n is as I am informed a man of genteel tho 

not of large property. He has a right to expect some 
part but does not want the whole of your Estate. I 
would suggest therefore that your House and Stables 
situate in Fourth Street be previously to your marriage 
conveyed to Trustees in Trust to receive the Rents Ifsues 
and profits during the Minority of your Son and apply 
the same first to discharge the Sum of £350 with the In- 
terest (being the remaining sum due of the purchase 
money & which ought to be regarded as an encumbrance 
on the premises) & in the second place to the support & 
Education of your Son stipulating if you please that for 
this purpose the payments of the proceeds be made to 
your future Husband and yourself as it is to be presumed 
your son will always remain under your joint Care and 
Protection) and in trust farther to convey the premises 
to your Son in fee simple upon his arriving at the Age of 
twenty one years but if he should die before he attains 
that Age to convey to yourself and your Heirs. 

Your Son as a residuary Legatee of his Grand Father 
will be entitled to something — but the Amount of the 
Legacy is wholly uncertain. The provision which I have 
mentioned will in your Circumstances be a generous one 
— I only fear it will be thought unreasonably great. But 
those who know Julia as well as I do will look for Con- 
duct at once maternally affectionate and exactedly boun- 

If I have given my Opinion with too much freedom — 
I earnestly solicit your pardon. I am sensible that 
neither Age or Wisdom or Relationship authorize me to 
advise — but your own Command has opened my Lips and 
Friendship bids me be sincere. With the truest Wishes 
for your Happinefs I am my dear Julia ever & affection- 

atel y y° UTS Wm. W. Wilkins 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

My respects to M rs Payne. Hallowell informs me 
that he considered himself obliged to pay the money to 
Isaac & has paid it to his Order. Compliments to Mifs 
Anna. I must beg her pardon for detaining these Letters 
so long in my pofsef sion as I expected daily to hear from 
you. I wished to dispatch in one packet. I shall attend 
as usual to your affairs till my power is revoked. 


Mr. Wilkins' advice was acceptable and upon it she 
acted and likely would have acted the same had it been 
adverse for in the words of General Washington : 

For my own part, I never did nor do I believe I ever 
shall give advice to a woman who is setting out on a mat- 
rimonial voyage. First, because I never could advise one 
to marry without her own consent ; and, secondly, because 
I know it is to no purpose to advise her to refrain when 
she has obtained it. A woman rarely asks an opinion, or 
requires advice on such an occasion, till her resolution is 
formed, and then it is with the hope and expectation of 
obtaining a sanction, not that she means to be governed 
by your disapprobation, that she applies. 

As said Mr. Wilkins' advice was acceptable for Mrs. 
Todd acted upon it in advance of receiving it; however, 
that is in advance of the story. Mr. Madison tells it him- 
self to his father. 

Hare wood October 5, 1794 
Dear & Hon d Sir 

I have detained Sam by whom I send this so much 
longer than I intended & you expected that many apolo- 
gies are due for the liberty. I hope it will be a sufficient 
one that I found him indispensable for a variety of little 
services, which I did not particularly take into view before 
I left Orange. There he can himself explain and I there- 
fore leave the task to him; proceeding to the history of 
what relates to myself. On my arrival here I was able to 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

urge so many conveniences in hastening the event which 
I solicited that it took place on the 15th u lt; on the 
friday following we set out accompanied by Mifs A. 
Payne, and Mifs Harriot Washington, on a visit to my 
sister Hite, when we arrived the next day, having stopped 
a night at Winchester with Mr. Bailmain. We had been 
a day or two only at Mr. Hites, before a slight indisposi- 
tion which my wife had felt for several days, ended in a 
regular ague & fever. The fits tho' succeeded by com- 
pleat intermifsions were so severe that I thought it pru- 
dent to call in a Physician from Winchester. Doc r 
Mackay not being in the way Doc 1 " Baldwin attended, 
and by a decisive administration of the Bark soon expelled 
the complaint. She has since recovered very fast & I 
hope notwithstanding a slight indisposition this morning 
which may be the effect of fatigue & change of weather, 
that no return is in the least to be apprehended. We left 
Mr. Hites the day before yesterday. Our time was passed 
there with great pleasure on our side, and I hope with not 
lefs on the other. Our departure however was embit- 
tered by the loss sustained the night preceeding by my 
sister which you will have an account of from Mr H. by 
this opportunity. In 8 or 10 days we expect to set out 
for Philad 3 — your daughter in law begs you and my 
mother to accept her best and most respectful affections, 
which she means to express herself by an early opportu- 
nity. She wishes Fanny also be sensible of the pleasure 
with which a correspondence with her would be carried 
on. * * * 

I remain your affec te son 

Js. Madison Jr 

Mr. Madison and Mrs. Todd were married at Hare- 
wood, Monday, September 15, 1794. Rev. Dr. Bal- 
maine, a Madison connection, by marriage, officiated.* 
The groom was forty-three ; the bride twenty-six. 
The fair biographers have failed to make a wedding 

*Dolly Madison. Maud Wilder Goodwin. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

costume for the bride; but to the groom gave ruffles 
of Mechlin lace for the bridesmaids to cut up into 
charms.* They had their honeymoon at Harewood 
with her people, and their wedding trip to his people, 
and, as he says, with great pleasure on his side and 
the hope of not less on her's. 

It was the season when the summer sun yet shines 
strong and nature is thinking of the brighter vest- 
ments of autumn. The twittering of the birds, the 
humming of the insects, the lullaby of the leaves were 
the chorus of the beating of happiness in the newly 
intertwined hearts. We might say more of this — but 
Mr. and Mrs. Madison, themselves, had to hurry from 
the country to the city — the city of Philadelphia — 
the former for Congressional duties; the latter for 
social life. Society was in high feather in 1794, and 
Dolly Madison came to be the most graceful plume. 
The chief social channel was the assemblies at Oeller's 
tavern on Chestnut Street.f The rules of the dance 
were severe, for instance the 10th: 

No gentleman admitible in boots, colored stocking, or 

The Madisons took the house 115 Spruce Street, 
between Fourth and Fifth, now numbered 429. J 

Mr. White was from Virginia a Delegate in the 
Continental Congress and a Representative in Con- 
gress. For eloquence and patriotism he was distin- 
guished. His staunch support of the situation on the 
Potomac turned the legislative tide. And he was of 

*Dolly Madison. Maud Wilder Goodwin. 

fjames Oeller's place was on the south side of Chestnut, west 
of Sixth and immediately west of the Circus. Pictured in Public 
Ledger, October 12, 1913. 

^Directory of Philadelphia, 1795. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the Commissioners in charge of the foundation affairs 
of the government's city. 

Woodville 2d Nov. 1794 
Dear Sir 

Your pa f sing through this Country without giving 
me the pleasure of seeing you was no small disappoint- 
ment, and having some acquaintance with the amiable 
Lady to whom you are now united. My disappointment 
was not lef sened from that circumstance — I requested M r 
Bailmain not only to make known our wishes, but to let 
us know when you came to Town, that Mrs. White and 
myself might have waited on you and M rs Madison, but 
he says the shortnefs of your stay there, did not permit 
him to comply with my request 

* * * 

Dear Sir 

Your most Ob Serv 

Alex White 

Rev. James Madison had the distinction of being 
the second cousin to James Madison, the first Bishop 
of Virginia and President of the William and Mary 


Nov. 12h 1794 

My Dear Sir, 

I cannot refrain sending you my sincere congratula- 
tions, upon an Event which promises you so much Hap- 
piness. It was my Intention to have paid you a short 
Visit, in September, upon my Return from the Moun- 
tains, but heard, when in your Neighbourhood, that you 
were from Home, & engaged in the pursuit, which 
terminated so agreeably to yourself, & I trust also, to the 
amiable Partner whom you have Selected. Present her 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

too, if you please, with my Congratulations & ardent 
wishes for your mutual Happiness. — 

* * * 

With the most sincere Esteem, I am D Sir, 

Y r Friend, 

J Madison 

To James Monroe 

Philada, Dec 4, 1794. 

Dear Sir 

* * * 

Present my best respects to Mrs. Monroe and Eliza, 
and tell them I shall be able on their return to present 
them with a new acquaintance who is prepared by my 
representations to receive them with all the affection they 
merit, & who I flatter myself will be entitled to theirs. 
The event which puts this in my power took place on the 
15th of Sept r . We are at present inhabitants of the 
House which you occupied last winter & shall continue 
in it during the session.* 

Horatio Gates was an English- American soldier. The 
visitor to the Capitol at Washington sees him there with 
repressed smile and smart regimentals in the role of con- 
queror receiving from Burgoyne the emblem of surren- 

New York 27th December 1794. 

My dear Sir 

Permit me thus late to present to you, & M rs Madison, 
mine, & my Marys Compliments of Congratulation; and 
to wish ye both every Earthly Felicity; make us also 

*Thc Writings of James Madison. Gaillard Hunt. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

happy by saying you will both pay a Vifsit to Rose Hill 

next Summer; 

* * * 

* * * with Marys and My Most respectful Compli- 
ments to M rs Maddison, I am 

My dear Sir 

Your faith full 

Humble Servant, 

Horatio Gates : — 

The appeal of Jefferson to Madison, his near neighbor, 
close friend and political legatee not to desert the steering 
of the ship of state for fear that it might be dashed to 
destruction, a fear that seems to be constant with the 
statesmen, has with it the gift of prophecy : 

Monticello, Dec. 28. 1794. 

* * * Hold on then, my dear friend, that we may 
not shipwreck in the meanwhile. I do not see, in the 
minds of those with whom I converse, a greater affliction 
than the fear of your retirement; but this must not be, 
unless to a more splendid & a more efficacious post. 
There I should rejoice to see you, I hope I may say, I 
shall rejoice to see you. I have long had much in my 
mind to say to you on that subject. But double delica- 
cies have kept me silent. 

* # * 

Present me respectfully to Mrs. Madison, and pray her 
to keep you where you are for her own satisfaction and 
the public good, and accept the cordial affections of us 
all. Adieu. 

Mrs. Madison's matrimonial joy was dimmed by fra- 
ternal bereavement. 

Journal of Elizabeth Drinker : 

1795, January 5. I heard this evening of the death of 
two of Molly Payne's sons, Temple and Isaac — the latter 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

offended a man in Virginia, who sometime afterward 
shot him with a pistol. 

Congress adjourned March 3, 1795. A journey was 
made. The journey over the wide waters was by ferry. 
All the overland by stage. The roads were rutted. The 
ride was rough. The weather was mild. On the route 
were settlements, thick and thin, and widely separated. 
The route was mostly through virgin forests and pristine 
nature. From Philadelphia was the start, then came 
Chester, then Wilmington, then Elkton and then across 
the broad Susquehanna at Havre de Grace where "the 
scenery is grand and picturesque" and then the consider- 
able Baltimore, then thrifty George Town, and then 
across the Potomac from where were vistaed the incom- 
plete President's Palace and the Capitol in the embryonic 
city for the nation, then Mount Vernon and then down 
and up the valley sides and over the mountain tops to 
Charlottesville and then the destination, the Madison 
mansion, Montpellier. The journey was six or seven 
days. The way was not new to Mr. Madison and to 
Dolly it was not entirely new. A new experience con- 
fronts Dolly. Anticipated with pleasure and too, with 
timidity — the welcome. The venerable father and mother 
and the sweet sister await the addition to themselves 
and so do the black visaged with wide eyes and laughing, 
the coming. The welcome is not to be worded. Dolly 
is installed as mistress of Montpellier. 

Philip Freneau at the College of New Jersey (Prince- 
ton) was the room mate of James Madison and there he 
wrote the Poetical History of the Prophet Jonah. "The 
Poet of the Revolution" had like the others his own code 
of capitalization and punctuation and put down his wife 
with a small f. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Monmouth, May 20th 1795. — 
My respected friend, 

5)C 3ft 3|C 

The public papers some time ago announced your mar- 
riage. I wish you all possible happinefs with the lady 
whom you chofen for your companion through life — M rs 
freneau joins me in the same, and defires me to prefent 
her beft refpects to your lady and yourself — and should 
you ever take an excurfion to thefe parts of Jerfey we 
will endeavor to give M rs Madison and yourself — "if not 
a coftly welcome, yet a kind." — 
I am, Sir, 

with great efteem 

Your friend and humble Serv* 

Philip Freneau, 

That the laudation given Mrs. Madison was not at- 
tributable to prestige of position is proven by the letter 
of the elder Adams to his Mrs. Adams : 

Philadelphia, 27 February. 1796. 

My Dearest Friend, 

I Dined yesterday with Mr. Madison. Mrs. Madison 
is a fine woman, and his two sisters are equally so. One 
of them is married to George Washington, one of the 
nephews of the President who were sometimes at our 
house. Mr. Washington came and civilly inquired after 
your health. These ladies, whose name was Payne, are 
of a Quaker family, once of North Carolina. 

Mr. Madison retired from Congress, March 4, 1797. 

Of the Madisons, the neighborly qualities, are shown 
by the fruits and besides — the thought of the table wants 
of their neighbors, the Monroes, thirty miles away. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Madison to Monroe. 

Feby 5, 1798. 
* * * 

Calling to mind the difficulty you may experience from 
the general failure of the potato crop last year, I beg you 
to accept by the bearer a couple of bushels, which may 
furnish the seed for your garden, if nothing more. Mrs. 
Madison insists on adding for Mrs. Monroe a few pickles 
and preserves, with half a dozen bottles of gooseberries 
and a bag of dried cherries, which will not be wanted by 
us until another season will afford a supply, and which 
the time of your return home must have deprived her of, 
as the fruit of the last season. We both wish we could 
substitute something more worthy of acceptance.* 

John George Jackson, March 14, 1799, from Clarks- 
burg, Virginia, wrote to Mr. Madison and enclosed a 
letter to Miss Polly Paine — Mrs. Madison's youngest sis- 
ter, Mary. The next year, Polly was Mrs. Jackson. 

In completeness the first biography is that of Lucia 
Beverly Cutts, a grand-niece, anonymously, called the 
Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. To the work 
she brought ability and to that the affection of kinship. 
With like literary ability Maud Wilder Goodwin has in 
her tersely-titled Dolly Madison given her life; and in the 
work has been diligent with the dragnet of research to a 
degree not to be overstated. These works that have pre- 
ceded have made this possible. 

The will of Mrs. Payne, the mother, was admitted to 
probate by Mrs. Madison proving the handwriting. John 
Todd who prepared the will had died, and at the time of 
probate, January, 1796, George Walker, the living wit- 

*Letters and Oilier Writings of James Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ness, was residing in the city of Washington. He was 
its earliest promoter. Indeed the Federal City in its per- 
fection of plan and magnificence in extent was his con- 

Dunlap's American Daily Advertiser, Saturday, April 
9, 1791 : 

We hear, that the proprietors of the land between 
Rock-Creek and the Tyber river, have, with much credit 
to themselves, made a donation of some lots in the pro- 
posed Federal City, to Mr. George Walker, which they 
rather consider a small tribute to genius and merit, than 
an adequate reward for the first projector of the magni- 
ficent plan now in contemplation and attended with every 
favorable prospect of being fully accomplished. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 



IN THE beginning thus begins The Book. In the be- 
ginning begins the account of the creation. In the 
beginning is an apt phrase to introduce the first step 
in a story. The beginning of the story of the city — the 
city culled out for the nation — is interesting; is more in- 
teresting than the after chapters — the chapters that carry 
the narration of maturer growth. The beginning is the 
most important in the development as the bent twig in- 
clines the tree. The story of the beginning of the city is 
a story of society. The little knots of society were widely 
scattered before the removal of the government from 
Philadelphia to Washington and on the removal — and 
years thereafter — society's habitations were as distantly 
apart although not so sparse. But, the appropriate date 
to be given the beginning is the time of that removal. 

Mrs. Madison came to the city in 1801 and went from 
it by death in 1849 — roundly, half a century, exactly 
forty-eight years and three months. She did not live in 
the city continuously yet continuously was in close touch 
with it. The story of the city and the story of Mrs. 
Madison are closely interwoven — the threads of each are 
the warp and woof of the fabric, rather, the parts of the 
same story. The social set which gave impetus to the 
city's progress had the Madisons, particularly Mrs. Mad- 
ison and her associates. These associates, all entertaining 
characters, fit into her life and it is fitting that their parts 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

in the social doings and all other local affairs should be 
touched upon. The facts disclosed may cause the reader 
the reflection that "of a good beginning cometh a good 
end" and that the city in the beginning had such strong 
characters is consequent its fortunate consummations. 

From the time the site was selected to the time of the 
removal of government was a decade. Much had been 
done in the meantime in laying out streets, putting up 
private residences and public buildings. Much more 
might have been done. Much more was needed. The 
failure may have been consequent upon limited facilities 
and funds. Mrs. Adams, the President's wife, referring 
to the discomforts at the Castle from the lack of every- 
thing of convenience makes disparaging comparison with 
Yankee activity. 

Phil 20 Jany 1800 

I am not authorized to say, but I am sure it will give 
the Pres* & M rs Adams great satisfaction, if you will 
plan, & cause to be executed, something like a garden, at 
the North side of the President's House. 

That large, naked, ugly looking building will be a very 
inconvenient residence for a Family, without something 
of this kind is done at once. You have seen Binghams 
garden in Phil a . — I mean something like that, to be en- 
closed with open railing. The ground should not be 
levelled — but Trees should be planted at once, so as to 
make it an agreeable place to walk in, even this summer. 

I do not think the Com rs have sufficiently attended to 
the accomodation of the Pres* — a private gent n prepar- 
ing a residence for his Friend, would have done more 
than has been done. Would you not be ashamed to con- 
duct the Prest to the House without there being an en- 
closure of any kind about it. Is there a stable — a car- 
riage House — too is necessary. * * * 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

This attention to the Prest is so proper, that no doubt 
your colleagues will immediately adopt the ideas you sug- 
gest on the subject. I should be glad to have an oppy of 
informing the Prest what is doing for his accomodation. 
Remember, that he will want his House in June — 

I am D Sr — Yrs very sincerely 

Ben Stoddert 

Mr. Stoddert, the Secretary of the Navy, was no stran- 
ger to the section. He was a citizen of George Town 
which offered itself as a ready built city for the nation's 
city. He resided in the mansion, 3400 Prospect avenue. 
He was an original proprietor. The letter of Mr. Stod- 
dert was to Dr. Thornton. He was one of the three city 
commissioners. It was written to him because he was 
an architect and a genius at drawing and a genius gen- 

Mrs. Thornton's Diary : 

(1800, January) Thursday 30th After dinner D>" 

T began a letter to M r Stoddert Secretary of the 

Navy, in answer to one from him requesting him to in- 
duce his Colleagues to lay out a garden & other necessary 
out Offices to the President's House. — This is a difficult 
work without they had large funds to make every thing 
to accord with the Building. 

Friday 31st JanY Dr T wrote his letter to M r 

Stoddert and enclosed a ground plan of the President's 
House, of which I made a Copy before he sent it. 

Mrs. Adams to Mrs. William Smith 


Nov. 21st, 1800. 

My dear Sister : — 

* * * 

I sit out early intending to make my 36 miles, if pos- 
sible ; no travelling, however, but by day-light. We took 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

a direction, as we supposed right, but in the first turn 
went wrong, and were wandering more than two hours 
in the. woods in different paths, holding down and break- 
ing bows of trees which we could not pass, until we met 
a solitary black fellow with a horse and cart. We in- 
quired of him the way and he kindly offered to conduct 
us, which he did two miles, and then gave us such a clue 
as led us to the post-road and the Inn where we got some 

I arrived about one o'clock at this place, known by the 
name of the City, and the name is all that you can call so, 
as I expected to find it a new country with houses scat- 
tered over a space of ten miles, and trees and stumps in 
plenty with a castle of a house — so I found it — the Pres- 
ident's house is in a beautifull situation in front of which 
is the Potomac with a view of Alexandria — the country 
around is romantic, but a wild and wilderness at present. 
I have been to Georgetown and felt all that Mrs. Cranch 
described when she was a resident there. It is the very 
dirtiest hole I ever saw for a place of any trade, or re- 
spectability of inhabitants. It is only one mile from me, 
but a quagmire after every rain. Here we are obliged to 
send daily for marketting. The Capitol is near two miles 
from us. As to roads we shall make them by the fre- 
quent passing before winter, but I am determined to be 
satisfied and content, to say nothing of inconvenience, 
etc. That must be a worse place than even Georgetown, 
that I could not reside in for three months. 
* * * 

I have the pleasure to say we are all at present well, 
tho the Newspapers very kindly gave the President the 
Ague and fever. I am rejoiced that it was only in the 
paper that he had it. This day the President meets the 
two houses to deliver the speech. There has not been a 
House until yesterday. We have had some very cold 
weather and we feel it keenly. This house is twice as 
large as our meeting house. I believe the great Hall is 
as big. I am sure it is twice as long. Cut your coat 
according to your cloth — but this house is built for ages 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

to come — the establishment necessary is a tax which can- 
not be born by the present salary — nobody can form an 
idea of it but those who come into it. I had much rather 
live in the house at Philadelphia — not one room or cham- 
ber is finished of the whole. It is habitable by fires in 
every part, thirteen of which we are obliged to keep daily. 
or sleep in wet and damp places. 

Yours as ever, 

A. A. 

The discomforts connected with the Federal City with 
others was those of travel. The journey from Phila- 
delphia has been unexaggeratedly told by Isaac Weld, 
junior, November, 1795 in Travels through the States of 
North America and by Thomas Twining April, 1796 in 
Travels in America ioo Years Ago. 

Margaret Bayard and Samuel Harrison Smith were 
already second cousins when in Philadelphia, September 
29, 1800, they became bride and groom. Their wedding 
tour was the journey to their new home. At first they 
did not keep house. 

Mrs. Thornton's Diary: 

(1800 October) Friday 24th— * * * After din- 
ner we went to the Capitol, called on M r & M rs Smith at 
Stell's tavern.* 

Mr. Smith was a newspaper pioneer. In Philadelphia 
he published a daily and evening paper under the title 
New World. Newspaper literature was more expensive 
then and newspaper reading less general. The two 
months' trial proved the financial futility and even as a 

*Stelle's tavern at this date was at the corner of A street and 
New Jersey avenue, S.E. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

once-daily the paper was a failure. From John Oswald 
he purchased a newspaper and under a new title Universal 
Gazette he published it weekly; he transferred that jour- 
nalistic enterprise. In Washington, he established the 
National Intelligencer, October 31, 1800, of long life. It 
was announced at the birth : 

But while the editor classes with our dearest rights 
the liberty of the press, he is decidedly inimical to its 
licentiousness. As, on the one hand, the conduct of pub- 
lic men and the tendency of public measures will be freely 
examined, so, on the other hand, private character will 
remain inviolable, nor shall indelicate expressions admit- 
ted, however disguised by satire or enlivened by wit. 

This principle preached was practiced and for it the 
proprietor secured the sobriquet "Silky, Milky Smith." 

Mrs. Smith was of unusual literary talent, and by mag- 
azine articles and in the guise of fiction, concurrently 
preserved what went on the primitive days, and the most 
interesting historically of the Federal City. Her letters 
less studied and all the more entertaining by their spon- 
taneity, ably edited by the litterateur, Gaillard Hunt, 
under title Forty Years of Washington Society, are like 
unto a delightful wandering into a luxuriant tangle of 
gossip, philosophy, politics, autobiography, history and 
every other literary growth. The primary sketch of 
Mrs. Madison is that of Mrs. Smith and that is how Mrs. 
Madison would have it for late in life she acknowledged 
to the authoress: 

I * * * can assure you that if a Biographical 
sketch must be taken, its accomplishment by your pen 
would be more agreeable to me than by any other to 
which such a task could be committed, being persuaded 







Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

not only of its competency, but of the just dispositions by 
which it would be guided. 

Mrs. Smith's descriptions are true and her conclusions 
fair, for in parallel accounts, by eminent writers there is 
close correspondence.* 

Margaret Bayard Smith says :f 

The infant metropolis of the union was at that time 
almost a wilderness. The president's house stood unen- 
closed on a piece of waste and barren ground, separated 
from the capitol by an almost impassable marsh. That 
building was not half completed, and standing as it did 
amidst the rough masses of stone and other materials 
collected for its construction, and half hidden by the ven- 
erable oaks that still shaded their native soil, looked more 
like a ruin in the midst of its fallen fragments and coeval 
shades, than a new and rising edifice. The silence and 
solitude of the surrounding space were calculated to en- 
force this idea, for beyond the capitol-hill, far as the eye 
could reach, the city as it was called, lay in a state of 
nature, covered with thick groves and forest trees, wide 
and verdant plains, with only here and there a house 
along the intersecting ways, that could not yet be prop- 
erly called streets. 

The original proprietors of the grounds on which the 
city was located retained their rural residences and their 
habits of living. The new inhabitants, who thronged 
to the seat of government came from every quarter of the 
union, bringing with them the modes and customs of their 
respective states. Mr. Madison from Virginia, Mr. Gal- 
latin from Pennsylvania, General Dearborn from Massa- 
chusetts, and Robert Smith from Maryland, were the 

*Biographical sketch and portrait of Mrs. Smith in Forty Years 
of Washington Society. 

^Mrs. Madison. National Portrait Gallery. Herring and Long- 
acre, 1836. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

heads of the several departments of government. With 
these came numerous political friends and dependants to 
fill the subordinate places in the public offices. 

Albert Gallatin to Mrs. Gallatin made this pessimistic 
picture of what he subsequently called "this hateful 

Washington City, 15th January, 1801. 

* * * Our local situation is far from being pleasant 
or even convenient. Around the Capitol are seven or 
eight boarding-houses, one tailor, one shoemaker, one 
printer, a washing-woman, a grocery shop, a pamphlets 
and stationery shop, a small dry goods shop, and an oyster 
house. This makes the whole of the Federal City as con- 
nected with the Capitol. At the distance of three-fourths 
of a mile, on or near the Eastern Branch, lie scattered the 
habitations of Mr. Law and of Mr. Carroll, the principal 
proprietaries of the ground, half a dozen houses, a very 
large, but perfectly empty warehouse, and a wharf graced 
by not a single vessel. And this makes the whole in- 
tended commercial part of the city, unless we include in 
it what is called the Twenty Buildings, being so many 
unfinished houses commenced by Morris and Nicholson, 
and perhaps as many undertaken by Greenleaf, both 
which groups lie, at a distance of half-mile from each 
other, near the mouth of the Eastern Branch and the 
Potowmack, and are divided by a large swamp from the 
Capitol Hill and the little village connected with it. Tak- 
ing a contrary direction from the Capitol towards the 
President's house, the same swamp intervenes, and a 
straight causeway, which measures one mile and half and 
seventeen perches, forms the communication between the 
two buildings. A small stream, about the size of the 
largest of the two runs between Clare's and our house, 
and decorated with the pompous appellation of "Tyber," 
feeds without draining the swamps, and along that cause- 
way (called the Pennsylvania Avenue), between the Cap- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

itol and the President's House, not a single house inter- 
venes or can intervene without devoting its wretched 
tenant to perpetual fevers. From the President's House 
to Georgetown the distance is not quite a mile and a half, 
the ground is high and level ; the public offices and from 
fifty to one hundred good houses are finished; the Pres- 
ident's House is a very elegant building, and this part of 
the city on account of its natural situation, of its vicinity 
to Georgetown, with which it communicates over Rock 
Creek by two bridges, and by the concourse of people 
drawn by having business with the public offices, will im- 
prove considerably and may within a short time form a 
town equal in size and population to Lancaster or An- 

Dr. Thornton was always on the alert to do hospitality. 
And his kind disposition and enthusiastic nature included 
a partiality to everything that was connected with the city 
of Washington even its climate. 

City of Washington 16th March 1801 
Dear Sir 

I had expected, with more satisfaction & pleasure than 
I can exprefs, your arrival in this city, when I heard of 
your late afflictive lofs, in which I sincerely sympathize. 
I also lament on another account your detention in Vir- 
ginia. — The President, whose tender regard for you 
makes him always speak with an uncommon degree of 
Interest for your welfare, informed me that you had long 
experienced delicate Health, and he even feared a change 
of climate might finally be requisite. — I do not think I 
ever enjoyed such Health as since my residence in this 
place, and I sincerely hope that this Change from your 
present situation may be so favorable, that you will have 
cause to pronounce it one of the healthiest places in the 

world. * * * 

* * * 

We are anxiously looking for you, and I take the liberty 
of requesting you to make my House your Home on your 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

arrival. If you should like our plain mode of living I 
shall rejoice exceedingly in your stay; if not, I will leave 
nothing undone to endeavour to obtain better accommo- 
dations for one whom I so sincerely regard. — We hope 
M rs Madison will be with you, & we request you will 
present to her the joint compliments and good wishes of 
my Family 

and accept 
dear Sir, 

the regard & esteem of 

your respectful and sincere Friend, 

William Thornton 

James Madison Esq re . 

Because of the death of Madison's father at Mont- 
pellier, the Madisons were not present at the inaugura- 
tion. They came in the spring (1801). The Madisons 
were the guests of the President while they furnished a 

Mrs. Smith, May 26th, 1801, writes: 

Mrs. Madison is at the President's at present. Mrs. 
Gallatin is in our neighborhood at present. The house 
Mr. G. has taken is next door to the Madisons' and three 
miles distant from us. 

The Smiths lived on New Jersey Avenue in a row now 
The Varnum. The Madisons rented one of the Six 


*Mr. Madison's landlord was the firm, Jonah Thompson and 
Richard Veitch, merchants of Alexandria, Va. They owned (pres- 
ent numbering) 2113, 2109 and 2107 Pennsylvania avenue; from 
Georgetown, the third, fifth and sixth houses of the row. The 
sixth house was occupied by Benjamin Stoddert and used as the 
Navy Office. The Madisons likely lived in No. 2113. 









Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Smith's initial mention of Mrs. Madison is : 

May 20, 1801. 

I have become acquainted with and am highly pleased 
with her; she has good humour and sprightliness, united 
to the most affable and agreeable manners. 

And on the morrow : 

Since I last wrote I have formed quite a social ac- 
quaintance with Mrs. Madison and her sister; indeed it 
is impossible for an acquaintance with them to be dif- 

On the twenty-fifth Independence Day, at the Nation's 
City, President Jefferson contributed with his cordiality, 
good cheer, to the company "which separated about 2 
o'clock and betook themselves to the various places of 
entertainment provided for the celebration of the day." 
The citizens who were too kind spirited to slight any 
entertainer must have been at least loaded with patri- 
otism. Mrs. Madison did not go for it was a man's affair 
but the Secretary of State did as likewise M. Pichon, 
Charge d'Affaires of the French republic, the govern- 
ment dignitaries and "strangers of distinction." If Mrs. 
Madison had attended she would have seen the handsome 
Captain Tingey, as he sang to the accompaniment of the 
Marine Band, Thomas Law's song composed for the day 
with variations from Joseph Hopkinson : 

Hail Columbia, happy land 

Hail ye patriots, heaven born band. 

And in the Captain's finishing burst of melody : 

Firm united let us be 
Rallying round our liberty, 
As a band of brothers join'd 
Peace and safety we shall find. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

she would have added to the "loud plaudits" the Captain 
received. This celebration of those of the day was held 
at the hostelry of McMunn and Conrad, (The Varnum) 
and began at 4 o'clock P.M.* 

City of Washington 15th Augst 1801. — 

My dear Friend 

* * * I accordingly turned my attention to M r Vofs's 
House, next door to the one I occupy, but was afraid we 
should not agree. We have however concluded, but I 
was under the necefsity of infringing one of the rules not 
really specified but strongly hinted in your Letter. I 
was obliged to agree to an advance of the rent on your 
entering the House, but laid him under a penalty of 1000 
Doll s . if the Houfe should not be finished by the 1 st of 
Oct 1 ". — * * * The Cellar I have directed to be di- 
vided, that one may serve for wine &c, the other for 
coals, &c — and for security against Fire a cupola on the 
roof, which will add to the House in other respects. 
* * * 

I who lately was nothing lefs than a Commifsioner or 
Edile, am now reduced to a High-way man — you will 
remember we are engaged in making Highways. — The 
City improves rapidly. — 

I am, dear Sir, with best compliments to the Ladies of 
your Family, your respectful & affectionate Friend 

William Thornton — 
James Madison Esq re . 

The annexed letter was directed to Montpellier. 

The Madisons located in Mr. Voss's house on F be- 
tween Thirteenth and Fourteenth streets and there re- 
mained the entire terms of his Secretaryship. When 
first numbered it was 244 F street; the site is now the 
Adams Building and is numbered 1333. John Quincy 

*National Intelligencer, July 6, 1801. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Adams latterly owned and occupied the house and it be- 
came known as the Adams House. 

Mrs. Kate Kearney Henry says : 

I may add that my grandfather, Richard Forrest, 
built and lived at what is now called the Ebbitt House, 
and the Madisons and Adams' were their opposite neigh- 
bors for many years. 

Mr. Madison spent freely and entertained open-hand- 
edly. He had costly service, choice things to eat and 
imported vintages to drink.* His pocket book was 
sometimes empty when the bill collector called. He first 
paid with a note at ninety days. When the second hand 
coach and silver plated harness seemed a lower grade he 
got another second hand outfit. He indulged his fancy 
for good horses. On the authority of Gaillard Hunt, 
with his next door neighbor, Dr. Thornton, he owned a 
r-ace horse. History does not disclose how many times 
that fleet-footed nag heard "they're off" or how many 
times the racer's nose was in front. Whether the horse 
brought fortune or misfortune is only a guess. Yet if 
misfortune chills friendship then it was that — for these 
two friends had that sensitive and suspicious friendship 
always ready for rupture and reconciliation. 

The Rev. Manasseh Cutler's ideas and Mr. Gallatin's 
are diametric. The reverend gentleman tells his 
daughter : 

*One of many. Invoice of One Puncheon Best Champain Prime 
old Brand}', at least 15 years old, from Cognac, augmented to 4th 
shipped on board the Ship Susan, Capt. Howard, on acct of James 
Madison Esqr. Secretary of State * * * frcs 789.81 Bordeaux, 
October 19, 1807. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Washington, Dec. 21, 1801. 
My Dear Betsy: — 

The city of Washington, in point of situation, is much 
more delightful than I expected to find it. The ground, 
in general, is elevated, mostly cleared and commands a 
pleasing prospect of the Potomac River. The buildings 
are brick and erected in what are called large blocks, that 
is, from two to five to six houses joined together, and 
appear like one long building. There is one block of 
seven, another of nine, and one of twenty houses, but 
they are scattered over a large extent of ground. The 
block in which I live contains six houses,* four stories 
high, and very handsomely furnished. It is situated east 
of the Capitol, on the highest ground in the city. * * * 
I am not much pleased with the Capitol. It is a huge 
pile built, indeed, with handsome stone, very heavy in its 
appearance without, and not very pleasant within. The 
President's house is superb, well proportioned, and pleas- 
antly situated. 

Doctor Samuel Latham Mitchell from New York was 
in Washington from 1801 to 1813, either as Senator or 
Representative. When Mrs. Mitchell was at home he 
wrote her almost daily to let her know what was doing 
and that at Washington she had an ardent lover. He 
was amiable in disposition and attractive in person. He 
was learned and could tell his learning. "We all love the 
doctor, and every body likes to hear him talk." He was 
wanted in the political conferences and as much in the 
social functions. 

Washington, January 3, 1802. 

The company at dinner consisted of both ladies and 
gentlemen, and was extremely sociable and agreeable. 
Since that day Mr. Madison has made me a friendly visit, 
and I have spent an evening with Mrs. M. 

*Carroll Row. Site of Library of Congress. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

While Congress sat in New York it was reported that 
he was fascinated by the celebrated Mrs. Colden, of our 
city, she who was so noted for her masculine understand- 
ing and activity, as well as for feminine graces and ac- 
complishments. But Mr. Madison was reserved for 
another widow, who some years after became connected 
to him by the nuptial tie. * * * She has a fine per- 
son and a most engaging countenance, which pleases not 
so much from mere symmetry or complexion as from 
expression. Her smile, her conversation, and her man- 
ners are so engaging that it is no wonder that such a 
young widow, with her fine blue eyes and large share of 
animation, should be indeed a queen of hearts. By this 
second marriage she has become the wife of one of the 
first men of the nation, and enjoys all the respectability 
and eclat of such a position. 

Mr. Madison had wooed and won Miss Catherine 
Floyd, the daughter of General William Floyd, one of 
the Signers. Won the promise of matrimony, that is all, 
for the young Miss of sixteen, to please her new fancy, 
exercised her feminine prerogative and sent him a note 
of dismissal which was sealed with dough. If the seal 
meant not — your cake is dough — it had no explicable 
excuse. Mr. Jefferson could sympathize: "I sincerely 
lament the misadventure which has happened from what- 
ever cause it may have happened ; should it be final, how- 
ever, the world presents the same and many other re- 
sources of happiness." 

Of a holiday of that time Senator Mitchell writes : 

Washington, January 4. 1802. 

New Year's Day was a time of great parade in the 
city of Washington. The weather being fine, gave every 
body an opportunity of exhibiting. The great place of 
resort was the President's Mansion. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The President was standing near the 
middle of the room, to salute and converse with visitors. 

* * * Among the ladies were the President's two 
daughters, Mrs. Randolph and Mrs. Eppes, to whom I 
paid my obeisance; then to Mrs. Madison and her sister. 
Miss Paine; then to Mrs. Gallatin and Miss Nicholson, 
besides a number of others. Beaux growing scarce or 
inattentive, toward the last I had to officiate myself, and 
to escort several of the fair creatures in succession to 
their carriages. 

The Reverend Mr. Cutler was a guest ; the guests were 
men of health with appetite and digestion. 

1802. Feb. 6. Saturday. Dined at the Presidents. 

* * * Rice soup, round of beef, turkey, mutton, ham, 
loin of veal, cutlets of mutton or veal, fried eggs, fried 
beef, a pie called macaroni, which appeared to be a rich 
crust filled with the strillions of onions, or shallots, which 
I took it to be, tasted very strong, and not very agreeable. 
Mr. Lewis told me there were none in it ; it was an Italian 
dish, and what appeared like onions was made of flour 
and butter, with a particularly strong liquor mixed with 
them. Ice-cream very good, crust wholly dried, crum- 
bled into thin flakes ; a dish somewhat like a pudding — in- 
side white as milk or curd, very porous and light, covered 
with cream-sauce — very fine. Many other jim cracks, a 
great variety of fruit, plenty of wines, and good. 

Senator Mitchell writes of another holiday: 

Washington, March 17, 1802. 

As I walked out this morning I observed the sons of 
Hibernia had adorned their hats with the shamrock in 
honor of St. Patrick, their tutelary saint. 

Mrs. Thornton's diary begins with September 30, 1798 
and ends, August, 1865. Some parts are missing. The 
entries were made on the day. The items are indubitable 
facts. Rarely are they with comment. First is daily 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

stated, the day of the month, the day of the week, and the 
weather condition. Many omissions of newspapers and 
other accounts are supplied, and such supplied omissions 
are important in perfecting a complete narrative. The 
diary is of valuable historic worth notwithstanding her 
depreciation, December 31, 1829: 

Our lives pass on, one day so much like another that 
there is little use in recording its daily events — to myself 
it is sometimes gratifying to refer to days past — but to 
others useless — I have for many years kept these mem- 
orandums & it has become a habit that I can hardly re- 
sign — but why do what will not gratify or serve anyone? 
— notwithstanding I go on! 

Dr. and Mrs. Thornton's visit to Montpellier was from 
September 5 to Wednesday, October 6, 1802. Mrs. 
Thornton in her diary gives a description of the Madison 

Arrived at M r Madison's country seat, about 110 
miles from the City of Washington and situated in 
Orange County Virginia — 5 miles from Orange Court 
House in one of the mountains forming the ridge called 
the South West mountains — it is in a mild & romantic 
Country, very generally covered with fine flourishing 
timber & forest trees ; — The house originally built by his 
father but added to by himself is upwards of 80 feet in 
Length with a handsome (but unfinished) portico of the 
Tuscan order, plain but grand appearance, rendered more 
pleasing by displaying a taste for the arts which is rarely 
to be found in such retired and remote situations. If I 
may judge from the appearance of the generality of the 
plantations I have seen — in many of which even sufficient 
taste to place a common fence is wanting — The House is 
on a height commanding an extensive view of the blue 
ridge, which by the constant variation in the appearance 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of the clouds, and consequently of the mountains form a 
very agreeable & varied object, sometimes appearing very 
distant, sometimes much separated and distinct and often 
like rolling waves. — M r M. pofsefses a large tract of land, 
on some parts of which, the views are more picturesque, 
than where the House is placed, but that scite is very fine, 
wanting only a water view to complete it, — the grounds 
are susceptible of great improvements, and when those 
he contemplates are executed, it will be a handsome place 
& approach very much in similarity to some of the ele- 
gant seats in England of which many beautiful views are 
given in Sandby's views &c 

Rev. Mr. Cutler records President Jefferson's second 
New Year's reception: 

January 1, 1803. Saturday. About 12, I went with 
Mr. Tillinghast in a hack to the President's to pay him 
the compliments of the season. We found in the octagon 
hall, which seemed to be improved as a levee room, a 
large company of ladies and gentlemen; the Heads of 
Departments, Foreign Ministers, Charge de Affaires, and 
Consuls: strangers, members of both Houses, both Fed- 
eralists and Democrats. Among the ladies, were the 
President's daughters, Mrs. Pechon, Mrs. Madison and 
her sister, Miss Payne; ladies of members of Congress, 
and some elderly ladies, whom I did not know. The en- 
tertainment was wine, punch and cake. 

From Winter in Washington — Margaret Bayard Smith 
(published anonymously) : 

* * * Begged her to describe some of the ladies' 
dresses which she had seen that morning at the levee. 

"First of all, cousin, tell me how Mrs. M. was dressed; 
for I heard you say at dinner, she looked like a queen." 

"But it was not her dress that gave her that majestic 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

"Tell me. though, what dress she wore, cousin, for I 
love dearly to hear about such things." 

"Well, let me think. She had on her head a turban of 
white satin, with three large white ostrich feathers hang- 
ing over her face, very becoming indeed ! Her dress, 
too, of white satin, made high in the neck, with long 
sleeves, and large capes, trimmed with swan's down, was 
rich and beautiful." 

"And had she no diamonds, cousin?" 

"No, my dear, she never wears diamonds in the morn- 
ing; she looked remarkably well, and as much like a bride, 
as a queen, for she wore no colours." 

"What need you," said he, looking at the lady of the 
Secretary of State — "what need you manners more cap- 
tivating, more winning, more polished, than those of that 
amiable woman? I have, by turns, resided in all the 
courts of Europe, and, most positively I assure you, I 
never have seen any Duchess, Princess, or Queen, whose 
manners, with equal dignity, blended equal sweetness. 
Her stately person, her lofty carriage, her affable and 
gracious manner, would make her appear to advantage 
at any court in the world. Upon my soul, I have often 
exclaimed to myself, as I have seen her moving through 
admiring crowds, pleasing all, by making all pleased with 
themselves, yet looking superior to all, I often have ex- 
claimed — 'She moves a goddess, and she looks a queen.' 

It is another's sentiment that horse races are desports 
of great men though many gentlemen by such means gal- 
lop quite out of their fortunes. But in the Madisonian 
era the race was the popular diversion and on the course 
gathered the man of cloth as he whose clothes indicate 
worldliness. Then it was the only field sport; the dia- 
mond and the gridiron were unevolved. There was a 
horse-racing, cock-fighting, loud-swearing gentry and the 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

socially known gamed too with the cards, the more fre- 
quent game being "brag." The women maintained "the 
rights of the Card-table" and the game of these gamesters 
was "loo." 

Sir Augustus Foster: 

Cards were a great resource of an evening, and gam- 
ing was all the fashion, at brag especially, for the men 
who frequented society were chiefly from Virginia or the 
Western States, and were very fond of this the most 
gambling of all games as being one of countenance as well 
as cards. Loo was the innocent diversion of the ladies, 
who, when they were looed, pronounced the word in a 
very mincing manner. 

Mr. Smith to Mrs. Smith :* 

July 5, 1803, Washington. 

* * * By the by, what do you think of my going to 
such an extent as to win 2 Doll, at Loo the first time I 
ever played the game, and being the most successful at the 
table? I confess I felt some mortification at putting the 
money of Mrs. Madison and Mrs. Duval into my pocket. 

Upon this incident Gaillard Hunt makes the comment :f 

It will be discomforting to fashionable ladies of the 
present day who play "bridge" for money to know that 
Mrs. Madison subsequently gave up playing cards for 
stakes and was sorry she had ever indulged in the prac- 

Mr Madison and his family take a family dinner with 
Th: Jefferson tomorrow (Tuesday) Will Doct r Thorn- 
ton and his family join us? 
Monday July 11, 03 

*Notes on the United States. Quarterly Review. 

fForty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Dr. Thornton established the race course. It was on 
the road, now Columbia, west of Fourteenth street. 

The Rev. Dr. Cutler describes in his journal, graphic- 
ally, the popular amusement: 

1803. November 8, Tuesday. Horse races com- 

To his son : 

As the races form one trait of the character of the 
Southern States, it is a subject which may afford you 
some amusement. The race ground is on an old field, 
with somewhat of a rising in the middle. The race path 
is made about fifty feet wide, measuring one mile from 
the bench of the judges round to the stage again. In the 
center of this circle, a prodigious number of booths are 
erected, which stand upon the highest part of the ground. 
Under them are tables spread, much like the booths at 
Commencement (at Cambridge), but on the tops, for 
they are all built with boards, are platforms to accommo- 
date spectators. At the time of the racing, these are 
filled with people of all descriptions. On the western 
side, and without the circus, is rising ground, where the 
carriages of the most respectable people take their stand. 
These, if they were not all Democrats, I should call the 
Noblesse. Their carriages are elegant, and their atten- 
dants and servants numerous. They are from different 
parts of the Southern and Middle States, and filled prin- 
cipally with ladies, and about one hundred in number. 
The ground within the circus is spread over with people 
on horseback, common hacks, and single carriages; a 
great number of women on horses and many a rich and 
elegant dress. On the eastern side is the stage for the 
bench of judges, elevated fifteen feet from the ground; 
at a distance of about ten rods, toward which the horses 
approach first, is another stage, on wheels. This is called 
the distanced stage. If any horses in the race do not 
arrive at this stage before the foremost arrives at the stage 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

from which they started, they are said to be distanced, 
and are taken out, and not suffered to run again in the 
same race. 

While the horses were running, the whole ground 
within the circus was spread over with people on horse- 
back, stretching round, full speed, to different parts of the 
circus, to see the race. This was a striking part of the 
show, for it was supposed there were about 800 on horse- 
back, and many of them mounted on excellent horses. 
There were about 200 carriages and between 3,000 and 
4,000 people — black, and white, and yellow ; of all condi- 
tions, from the President of the United States to the beg- 
gar in his rags ; of all ages and of both sexes, for I should 
judge one-third were females. * * * It was said the toll 
collected from carriages and horses (people on foot 
passed free) was 1,200 dollars * * * Mr. Tayloe, 
of this city, is one of the most famous of the Jockey Club. 
He had five horses run, one on each day; all come near 
winning, but failed. He is said generally to be lucky. 
He is very rich — his horses are valued at more than 
10,000 dollars. It is said that Holmes has sold one of 
his winning horses for 3,500 dollars. So it is that these 
Nabobs sport with their money. Vast sums were bet on 
the grounds by individuals. It is said one member of 
Congress lost, in private bets, 700 dollars. Such are the 
evils attending these races. But in one respect I was 
much disappointed. Among the numerous rabble, I saw 
very few instances of intoxication. I am tired, and can 
only add, that I am 

Your affectionate parent, 

M. Cutler 

Senator Mitchell playfully tells the proceedings of the 
day to Mrs. Mitchell : 

Washington, December 16, 1803. 

The horse-races for the season have begun this day 
within the Territory of Columbia, and I have been on the 
turf to behold this great and fashionable exhibition. The 



By James Peale 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ground on which the coursers try their speed is about 
four miles from the Capitol Hill. For several weeks this 
time has been anticipated with great expectation. People 
from far and near throng to behold the spectacle. Par- 
ticularly from the adjacent States of Virginia and Mary- 
land a multitude of spectators were assembled. The 
races, though beginning today (Tuesday), are to continue 
until Saturday. 

So keen was the relish for the sport that there was a 
serious wish of a number of the members to adjourn 
Congress for a few days. * * * The Senate ac- 
tually did adjourn for three days, not on account of the 
races, you will observe, but merely to admit a mason to 
plaster the ceiling of their chamber, which had fallen 
down a few days before. The House of Representatives 
met and adjourned; but you must not suppose this was 
done to allow the honorable gentlemen to show themselves 
on the race-ground: you are rather to imagine that no 
business was in a due state of preparation to be acted 
upon. * * * 

The sport being over, the great men and the pretty 
women and the sporting jockeys and the reverend sirs 
and many of the little folks quitted the field. 

To Tom Moore : 

George Town, near Washington, Sunday, 1804. 
Before this letter reaches you, you will have heard of 
our landing at Alexandria, after six days' disputation 
with winds, tides, and ignorant navigators. The follow- 
ing morning we set off for this place in a coachie. The 
cold was very severe, and the roads intolerable, neverthe- 
less, I laughed every step of the way. Mr. Thornton met 
us at Alexandria, and advised this mode of conveyance 
as the best both for ease and quickness. Mr. M. had 
never been in one of these vehicles, and his quiet aston- 
ishment and inzvard groaning gave rise to my mirth and 
risibility. On entering our apartments here, I asked the 
master of the house what he could give us for dinner. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

He immediately changed his position, walked to the fire- 
place, reclined his head on the chimney-piece, looked at 
me, or rather stared, and replied, "Why, Mistress Merry, 
our custom is to give the best we have, but I keeps no 
schedule whatever. My house is full ; but you shall have 
yore dinner." So we had, God knows! but neither his 
B. Majesty's Minister or Mistress Merry could eat a mor- 
sel that was served. A few days will, I hope, place us 
in some hovel of our own. Mr. Thornton is indefatig- 
able in his endeavors to procure us every comfort. He 
is quiet, sensible well-informed man, without brilliancy 
or elocution. Well-educated, and full of information, 
which he details slowly from a natural impediment in his 
speech. Upon the whole he is a great acquisition, and I 
rejoice to hear he is not likely to leave us; but this entre 
nous — let not a word escape you that I write — trifles be- 
come giants in the mouths of Americans. We have 
alarmed the Congress itself with the number of our ser- 
vants and the immensity of our baggage: the former they 
cannot account for ; the latter, they have ingeniously set- 
tled, is to be sold, and that their home markets will be 
injured if foreign ministers are allowed to bring over 
such profusion of luxuries for sale. Do they desire to 
have one of Dr. Parry's Christians live amongst them? 

I rejoice you did not come with us. At this season 
the Potomac is a poor reward for the innumerable diffi- 
culties and impositions a traveller meets with. Its im- 
mensity inspires awe and surprise that almost deadens 
sense, and its sameness, for some hundreds of miles, is 
quite overpowering; to this add a total want of cultiva- 
tion, without any diversity of ground, without an atom 
of sublimity or grandeur, or even cheerfulness. Within 
a hundred miles of Alexandria the scene changes for the 
better. You have well-clothed mountains and magnifi- 
cent woods that may charm in their summer or autumnal 
dress, but in the month of November they show you the 
savage deserts, the miserable negroes' huts, and the causes 
why this country is so devoted a victim to disease. At 
some moments I wish you were here. Matter arises 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

every instant that you would convert into amusement, 
but the per contra makes us both bear the deprivation of 
your society with resignation, though not without regret. 
When we are comfortable come and see us. You have 
older friends, but none who value you more highly than 
Mr. M. and the writer of this blackened scrawl. I hope 
you are a good decipherer, or you will soon regret enter- 
ing into a correspondence with me; I cannot write well, 
nor read what I write. I should have told you the house 
you heard talked of for us is not to be had either for love 
or money. Mr. M. frets, and every moment exclaims, 
"Why it is a thousand times worse than the worst parts of 
Spain !' I laugh, and resolve to bear up stoutly against 
difficulties while Heaven blesses me with health. I am 
now perfectly well, and to-morrow shall exhibit at the 
Capitol. The Capitol — good heavens, what profanation ! ! 
Here is a creek, too — a dirty arm of the river — which 
they have dignified by calling it the Tiber. What patience 
one need have with ignorance and self-conceit. 

Adieu ! let me hear from you soon, and accept the sin- 
cere friendship of 

E. Merry. 

Mrs. Smith, January 23, 1804, says 


But certainly there is no place in the United States 
where one hears and sees so many strange things, or 
where so many odd characters are to be met with. 

And in corroboration she relates: 

But of Mad'm I think it no harm to speak the 

truth. She has made a great noise here, and mobs of 
boys have crowded round her splendid equipage to see 
what I hope will not often be seen in this country, an 
almost naked woman. An elegant and select party was 
given to her by Mrs. Robt. Smith ;f her appearance was 

*Forty Years of Washington Society. 
fRobert Smith — Secretary of the Navy. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

such that it threw all the company into confusion, and 
no one dar'd to look at her but by stealth; the window 
shutters being left open, a crowd assembled round the 
windows to get a look at this beautiful little creature, 
for every one allows she is extremely beautiful. Her 
dress was the thinnest sarcenet and white crepe without 
the least stiffening in it, made without a single plait in 
the skirt, the width at the bottom being made of gores; 
there was scarcely any waist to it and no sleeves; her 
back, her bosom, part of her waist and her arms were 
uncover'd and the rest of her form visible. She was 
engaged the next evening at Madm P's, Mrs. R. Smith 
and several other ladies sent her word, if she wished to 
meet them there, she must promise to have more 
clothes on. 

It is in this letter that Mrs. Smith tells of Mrs. Merry, 
the British Minister's wife, being at Robert Smith's large 
and splendid ball, and of her appearance and of her im- 
pressions of that aggressive lady: 

Mrs. Merry was there and her dress attracted great 
attention; it was brilliant and fantastic, white satin with 
a long train, dark blue crape of the same length over it 
and white crape drapery down to her knees and open at 
one side, so thickly cover'd with silver spangles that it 
appear'd to be a brilliant silver tissue; a breadth of blue 
crape, about four yards long, and in other words a long 
shawl, put over her head, instead of over her shoulders 
and hanging down to the floor, her hair bound tight to her 
head with a band like her drapery, with a diamond cres- 
cent before and a diamond comb behind, diamond ear- 
rings and necklace, displayed on a bare bosom. She is a 
large, tall well-made woman, rather masculine, very free 
and affable in her manners, but easy without being grace- 
ful. She is said to be a woman of fine understanding and 
she is so entirely the talker and actor in all companies, 
that her good husband passes quite unnoticed ; he is plain 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

in his appearance and called rather inferior in under- 

, The Merry incident is that the President offered his 
arm to Mrs. Madison and ignored her whispered "Take 
Mrs. Merry." The Merrys, she on his arm, followed. 
The British Minister complained to his government. Mr. 
Madison offered to apply diplomatic ointment to the hurt 
and with what curative effect can be guessed from his 
letter to Mr. Monroe : 

Washington, Feby 16, 1804. 

Dear Sir In a private letter by Mr. Baring I gave you 
a detail of what had passed here on the subject of eti- 
quette. I had hoped that no farther jars would have 
ensued as I still hope that the good Sense of the British 
government respecting the right of the government here 
to fix its routes of intercourse and the sentiments and 
manners of the country to which they ought to be adap- 
ted will give the proper instructions for preventing like 
incidents in future. In the meantime a fresh circum- 
stance has taken place which calls for explanation. 

The President being desirous of keeping open for cor- 
dial civilities whatever channels the scruples of M r My 
might not have closed asked me what these were under- 
stood to be and particularly whether he would come and 
take friendly and familiar dinners with him I undertook 
to feel his pulse thro' some hand that would do it with 
the least impropriety. From the information obtained I 
inferred that an invitation would be readily accepted and 
with the less doubt as he had dined with me (his lady de- 
clining! ) after the offense originally taken. The invita- 
tion was accordingly sent and terminated in the note from 
him to me & my answer herewith inclosed. I need not 
comment on this display of diplomatic superstition, truly 

*Forty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 
fMrs. Thornton's Diary states that Mrs. Merry was ill. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

extraordinary in this age and in this country. We were 
willing to refer it to the personal character of a man 
accustomed to see importance in such trifles and over 
cautious against displeasing his government by surren- 
dering the minutest of his or its pretentions. What we 
apprehend is, that with these causes may be mingled a 
jealousy of our disposition towards England and that the 
mortifications which he has inflicted on himself are to be 
set down to that account.* 

And Madison to Monroe, the same day, writes : 

Thornton has also declined an invitation from the 
Prest. This shews that he unites without necessity with 
Merry. He has latterly expressed much jealousy of our 
views founded on little and unmeaning circumstances.* 

Benjamin Ogle Tayloe says that Mrs. Madison in- 
formed him in her old age that immediately after the 
dinner in the drawing room to her with emotion, the 
Marchioness D'Yrujo said, "This will be cause of war."f 

Mr & Mrs Merry 

request the Honor of 

M r s Brodeau's 

Company at Tea 

on Monday Evg the 9 th of April 

An Answer is desired 

Extracts from Notes on the United States by Sir Au- 
gustus Foster edited by the Right Hon. Sir Augustus J. 
Foster, Bart, are in the Quarterly Review, Vol. 68. Sir 
Augustus Foster was the Secretary to the Legation 
1804'5'6; and the Envoy in 1811 to the declaration of 
the War 1812. His comment and criticism are discri- 

* Writings of James Madison. Edited by Gaillard Hunt. 

fin Mcmoriam — Benjamin Ogle Tayloe. Winslow M. Watson. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

minate and he rebukes the travellers who have made 
biassed reports as going bilious and returning with a 
double portion. It is only economy of space that forbids 
the repeating of the Notes in full. 

* * * I conclude Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison 
were too much of the gentleman not to feel ashamed of 
what they were doing, and consequently did it awkwardly, 
as people must do who affect bad manners for a particular 
object. I allude to the sudden alteration in the etiquette 
heretofore practised by General Washington and Mr. 
Adams on dinner being announced. Mr. and Mrs. 
Merry were so thoroughly unaware of this intention that 
they had not had time to think of what they should do on 
the occasion, and Mr. Jefferson had not requested any 
one present to look to the strangers ; so, when he took to 
dinner the lady next to him, Mr. Madison followed his 
example, and the Senators and members of the House of 
Representatives walked off with their respective dames — 
leaving the astonished Merry — (who was of the old 
school, having passed a great part of his life at Madrid) 
— gazing after them, till at last he made common cause 
with his better half : offering her his arm with a formel 
air, and giving a hint to one of the servants to send for 
his carriage, he took her to the table and sat by her, — the 
half-ashamed and half-awkward President not even at- 
tempting an excuse. And this same scene was for con- 
sistency's sake repeated nearly in the same manner at the 
house of the Secretary of State. Ever afterwards Mr. 
Merry refused their invitations; messages were sent to 
beg he would dine with the President as Mr. Merry, put- 
ting aside his quality of British Minister; but this he 
could not well do without, as he thought, sanctioning in 
some sort their previous treatment of the representative 
of Great Britain, as long as no apology was offered for 
the past : so he never met his Excellency any more at 
table, since the President, unlike any social monarchs of 
the north, keeps his state — neither he nor his wife accept- 
ing of invitations. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

T. Cutler's manuscripts : 

Dr. Cutler, while in Washington, was often at Mr. 
Madison's, who was then Secretary of State. He found 
Mrs. Madison very amiable, and exceedingly pleasant and 
sensible in conversation. On one occasion, she spoke of 
the dishonesty of the Democrats. Dr. Cutler said, in- 
quiringly, "You do not believe all the Democrats are dis- 
honest?" "Yes," she said, "I do, every one of them!" 
which produced a hearty laugh, in which Mr. Madison 
himself joined. 

Mrs. Madison's intent, in the remark, is conjectural. 
It can be conjectured that the remark was a play on the 
Doctor's political partiality and to please him by an im- 
plied mutuality of opinion. 

Journal of Dr. Cutler: 

(1804) Feb 21 Tuesday. Very pleasant. Atten- 
ded at Hall. Dined with Mr. Madison. An excellent 
dinner. The round of Beef of which the Soup is made 
is called Bouilli. It had in the dish spices and something 
of the sweet herb and Garlic kind, and a rich gravy. It 
is very much boiled, and is still very good. We had a 
dish with what appeared to be Cabbage, much boiled, then 
cut in long strings and somewhat mashed ; in the middle a 
large Ham, with the Cabbage around. It looked like 
our country dishes of Bacon and Cabbage, with the Cab- 
bage mashed up, after being boiled till sodden and turned 
dark. The Dessert good; much as usual, except two 
dishes which appeared like Apple pie, in the form of the 
half of a Musk-melon, the flat side down, tops creased 
deep, and the color a dark brown. 

A foreigner, said to be Mrs. Merry, Dr. Cutler's friend, 
criticized the Madison table, "that it was more like a 
harvest-home supper, than the entertainment of a Sec- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

retary of State." Mrs. Madison conceded the correct- 
ness of the criticism and as remembered by Mrs. Smith, 
she said :* 

That she thought abundance was preferable to ele- 
gance; that circumstances formed customs, and customs 
formed taste; and as profusion so repugnant to foreign 
customs arose from the happy circumstance of the abun- 
dance and prosperity of our country, she did not hesitate 
to sacrifice the delicacy of European taste, for the less 
elegant, but more liberal fashion of Virginia. 

To Mrs. Poole: 

Washington, Feb. 28, 1804 

My Dear Daughter:— * * * The British Min- 
ister and his lady have been the subjects of much con- 
versation, especially with respect to repeated affronts they 
have received. There can be no doubt they have been 
treated very improperly. A few days since, Mr. J. Q. 
Adams, of the Senate, General Wadsworth and myself, 
made the Minister a formal visit. We were introduced 
by Mr. Adams, and treated with much politeness. Mr. 
Merry is a well-formed, genteel man, extremely easy and 
social. But I was especially pleased with his lady, who 
is a remarkably fine woman. It happened that I was 
seated by her. She entered instantly into the most agree- 
able conversation, which continued during the visit, while 
the other gentlemen were conversing with each other. 
She was just as easy and social as if we had been long 
acquainted, and continued so as long as we tarried, which 
was about a couple of hours. * * * 

Your affectionate parent, 

M. Cutler 

Miss Anna Payne was married to Richard Cutts, Fri- 
day, March 30, 1804. 

*Mrs. Madison — National Portrait Gallery. Margaret B. Smith. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

National Intelligencer, Wednesday, April 4. 

Married — on Saturday laft, by the Revd. Dr. Gantt, 
Richard Cutts, Efquire, a representative from Maffa- 
chufetts, to Mifs Paine of this City. 

Mrs. Thornton's Diary : 

1804. March 30. Received invitation to Mifs 
payne's marriage. — I wrote a note to her & Mrs. Mad- 

Harriet Taylor Upton says :* 

Although the wedding was a fine affair, the presents 
according to the custom of the time were simply tokens 
of love, planned and made by those who gave them — em- 
broidery, paintings, and original poetry. Madame Desch- 
coff,f the wife of the Russian Minister, sent the usual 
wedding-present of her country; two wine-coolers, one 
filled with salt — the essence of life, the other with bread 
— the staff of life 

To Mrs. Isaac Winston. 

April 9, 1804. 

I consider myself a most unlucky being, my dearest 
aunt, in regard to my letters to you, for you certainly 
cannot received my two last or you would have alluded 
to them in yours, which we have this moment received. 
What must my dear uncle think of me ! but I will now 
take the opportunity to scold you for not knowing my 
heart better, which has always been open to you, — you 
speak to me in apologies for my Cousin Dolly's stay, when 
I have considered it as a favor, and a very great pleasure, 
only wishing we could live together all our lives. We 
hope and expect to go to you in May. Public business. 

*Our Early Presidents, Their Wives and Children. 
fM. De Dashkoff, Charge d'Affaires and Consul-General of 
the Emperor of Russia to the U. S. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

perhaps, was never thicker. I have just received a long 
letter from mamma, who is quite well, and I pray that 
your fears may not be realized, my dear aunt, but that 
you may spend a great deal of time together in this life. 
I should be miserable, indeed, if I did not feel such a con- 
viction. I am taking care of my best prunes and figs for 
you. Tell dear uncle I am ashamed to speak to him, but 
he will see by this that it was not my fault. Farewell, 
dearest aunt, I have nothing new to tell you as you must 
know all about Burr. 

Ever your devoted, 


To Anna : 

April 26, 1804. 

Though few are the days passed since you left me, my 
dearest Anna, they have been spent in anxious impatience 
to hear from you/ Your letter from Baltimore relieved 
my mind, and the one from Philadelphia this hour re- 
ceived gives me the greatest pleasure. To trace you and 
your dear husband in that regretted city, where we have 
spent our early years, to find that even there you can 
recollect with affection the solitary being you have left 
behind, reflects a ray of brightness on my sombre pros- 
pects. I will now give you a little sketch of our times 
here. I shut myself up from the time you entered the 
stage until Saturday, when we went to drive in the rain 
with Marshall Brent. All our acquaintance called in to 
see me on the different mornings. Those few whom I 
saw seemed to sympathize with me in your loss ! ! ! I 
drank tea with the Tingeys and Mrs. Forrest, the amount 
of visits accomplished. A letter from the President an- 
nounces the death of poor Maria, and the consequent 
misery it has occasioned them all. This is among the 
many proofs of the uncertainty of life. A girl so young, 
so lovely ! All the efforts of friends and doctors availed 
nothing. I am delighted with the kind attention you 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

meet from our old acquaintance, and have no doubt but 
that you will have a grateful welcome in all the places 
you are destined to visit. Remember me to the McKeans, 
and to Sally say a great deal, for I feel a tenderness for 
her and her husband, independent of circumstances. 

Your devoted sister, 


In the early Philadelphia directories are: 

1791 Thomas Tingey Sea Captain 16 Union St 
■,jq>> Thomas Tingey, Sea captain 121 So. Third St. 

The Captain was brave. In the war with France he 
had command of the Ganges and two small vessels. With 
them he guarded the passage between Cuba and Haiti 
(1798).f A British officer to impress men boarded a 
ship in the Captain's command, and to the officer, he said : 

"A public ship carries no protection for her men but 
her country's flag. I do not expect to succeed in the ac- 
tion with you, but I will die at my quarters before a man 
shall be taken off this ship." The British officer was 
impressed and his ship sailed away.i 

The Captain was gallant. Gallant the same as he was 
brave. His social gallantry was not hollowness — it was 
heartfelt hospitality. His hospitality had the initiative; 
and his service had sacrifice. 

The Captain was portly and handsome — handsome 
without the gold braid and cocked hat. When he bowed 
it was a graceful manoeuvre, and smiled — altogether it 
was a picture to captivate. In all the "polish'd horde" 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 
^Commodore John Rodgers. Charles Oscar Paullin. 
%The Evening Star. November 27, 1906. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

there was none to rank with the Captain. He was so- 
ciety's beau ideal. No swell dance, no public dinner in 
the Captain's prime, and the city's primitive period, with- 
out the Captain's piloting. For the dancing assembly, 
the Captain was always of the Committee, the chairman 
or captain of it. 

In Philadelphia, the Captain was Dolly's friend; her 
neighbor — he lived a square east and a square south of 
her. In Washington he welcomed her, he and Mrs. 
Tingey, the Mrs. Tingey.* 

From Mrs. Anna Cutts : 

Boston, May, 1804. 

My Dearest Dolly, — How I miss you it would not be 
possible to say. The town of Boston is all confusion, 
no regularity anywhere, and after Philadelphia and New 
York it seemed as if I should be stifled; the situations and 
prospects outside of the town are delightful, but you 
have heard from others, more capable of describing it. 
We have very pleasant lodgings, and for my companion 
the famous Madame Knox, who although very haughty 
I find pleasant and sensible. Chess is now her mania, 
which she plays extremely well, only too often for my 
fancy, who am not of late so partial to it. Every morn- 
ing after breakfast, there is a summons from her lady- 
ship, which if I attend pins me to her apron-string until 
time to dress for dinner, after which she retires, again 
inviting me to battle. Out of twenty-one games, in only 
two, and a draw game, has she shown me any mercy; 
she is certainly the most successful player I ever encoun- 
tered. Thursday we dined at the Mortons', an extremely 
pleasant place, the house and grounds quite tasteful. 
Mrs. Morton strikes one most at home, believe me, and 
had I her establishment would never quit it for anything 

*The Captain was three times married. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

in Washington. She has four fine daughters, all women, 
and two of them very pretty. They gave us a handsome 
dinner and a pleasant party, with a dash at Loo in the 
evening, to please Mrs. Knox, I suppose. The Federal 
party in Boston prevails, — however, in spite of my con- 
nections, I find much civility among them. Always, my 
dearly beloved sister, much love, in which my husband 
joins me, 

Yours devotedly, 

Tom Moore made the transatlantic trip with Mr. 
and Mrs. Merry. After a visit to "thei region of isles," 
the Bermudas, he returned to Norfolk. From there 
overland he crossed the States northward, and on the 
way tarried at Washington. 

At Washington, I passed some days with the English 
minister, Mr. Merry; and was, by him, presented at the 
levee of the President, Jefferson, whom I found sitting 
with General Dearborn and one or two other officers, and 
in the same homely costume, comprising slippers and 
Connemara stockings, in which Mr. Merry had been re- 
ceived by him — much to that formal minister's horror — 
when waiting upon him, in full dress, to deliver his cre- 
dentials. My single interview with this remarkable per- 
son was of very short duration; but to have seen and 
spoken with the man who drew up the Declaration of 
American Independence was an event not to be for- 

His visit was in "the season of youth" (twenty- 
fifth year) ; and the Preface to the Second Volume 
veneers that of the first and his poems so severe and 
satirical on American men and matters. He might 
have plead immaturity, but pleads in mitigation: 

* Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

* * * my mind was left open too much to the influ- 
ence of the feelings and prejudices of those I chiefly con- 
sorted with; and, certainly, in no quarter was I so sure 
to find decided hostility, both to the men and the prin- 
ciples then dominant throughout the Union, as among 
officers of the British navy, and in the ranks of an angry 
Federalist opposition. 

And happily concludes : 

While the good will I have experienced from more 
than one distinguished American sufficiently assures me 
that any injustice I may have done to that land of free- 
men, if not long since wholly forgotten, is now remem- 
bered only to be forgiven.* 

And surely much might be forgiven in slight recom- 
pense for the melodious rhythm and sweet fancy of 
the songs he sung on this side of the Atlantic waste. 

From Washington, he tells metrically Dr. Thomas 
Hume, they will have a "frank exchange of heart" 
whether by the Thames or the Potomac, and 

"O'er lake and marsh, through fevers and through fogs, 
'Midst bears and yankees, democrats and frogs, 
Thy foot shall follow me, thy heart and eyes 
With me shall wonder, and with me despise. 

In fancy now, beneath the twilight gloom, 
Come, let me lead thee o'er this 'second Rome !' 
Where tribunes rule, where dusky Davi bow, 
And what was Goose Creek once is Tiber now : — 
This embryo capital, where Fancy sees 
Squares in morasses, obelisks in trees ; 
Which second-sighted seers, ev'n now, adorn 
With shrines unbuilt and heroes yet unborn, 

Though not but woods and J n they see 

Where streets should run and sages ought to be." 

The poet amplifies by a footnote : 

A little stream runs through the city, which with 
intolerable affectation, they have styled the Tiber. It 
was originally called Goose Creek. 

*Life and Letters of Washington Irving. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The Tiber crossed Pennsylvania Avenue at Second 
Street. It was two-thirds of a street wide. Its bottom 
was sandy and its bed interspersed with boulders. 
The current was swift and, after storms, a torrent. 
In the olden days on Second Street, a little north of 
the Avenue, a road inclined and it was a favorite place 
for the horses to slake their thirst. The water nearly 
reached the body of the vehicles. 

A proprietor, a Pope, of a small domain which em- 
braced the prominence many years afterwards the 
site of the Capitol, called it Rome and the stream 
through it Tiber. The deed from Pope was in frame 
exhibited on the walls of the Tax Collector's office. 
In the numerous shiftings of the local government's 
offices this ancient muniment of title was lost.* 

Moore was in Washington the fore part of June, 
1804. Then, Mrs. Madison was at Montpellier, held 
by rheumatism. It was unfortunate that they did not 
meet. Dolly could "smile brightly" and Tom could 
"sing sweetly," and the mixture would have cured 
Dolly of her aches and Tom of his grouches. Dolly's 
mother was born in the County Wexford and Tom's 
father was born in the County Kerry — not so far 
between — and that made a Celtic relation. Between 
these relatives would have been a skirmish of Celtic 

*"That the Washington 'Tiber' had borne the name long before 
the City of Washington was ever dreamed of is shown by the fact 
that a patent was issued by the Colonial authorities of Maryland on 
May 13, 1664, to a facetious gentleman, by the name of Francis Pope, 
for a tract of land called 'Rome,' situated on 'Tiber' Creek, and 
containing 400 acres. This tract fell within the lines of the City 
of Washington and the capitol building is situated upon or near it. 
Mr. Pope had, evidently, a desire to be known as 'Pope, of Rome, 
on Tiber.' " Old Georgetown — Hugh T. Taggart. 












us -s 





t- s 


S ■ 


V V 


! Si 










Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

wit, a truce, a peace, and to Tom the whole country- 
would have worn a reflection of Dolly's smile. 

In the fourth year at Washington, Mrs. Madison 
succumbed to physical ailment. She had an attack 
of rheumatism, the inflammatory kind. From Mont- 
pellier, June 3, 1804, she tells her sister, Anna, of the 
painfulness of it; of the bleeding by Dr. Willis and 
the nursing by Mother Madison, and of her intended 
return to Washington the week after. 

Washington, June, 1804. 

My Dearest Anna, — How delighted I should be to 
accompany you to all the charming places you mentioned, 
to see all the kind people, and to play Loo with Mrs. 
Knox. Mr. Madison would write, but is overwhelmed 
with business. * * * He always sends his affection- 
ate love. Mount Vernon has been set on fire five different 
times, and it is suspected some malicious persons are de- 
termined to reduce it to ashes. Oh, the wickedness of 
men and women! I am afraid to accept their invita- 

The date of the letter which follows can be supplied 
by the entry in Mrs. Thornton's dairy: 

(1804) June 5, Tuesday. Dr T. at the president's 
with the Baron Humboldt. 

To Mrs. Anna Cutts : 

We spent last evening at Mr. Pichon's. Our city is 
now almost deserted, and will be more so in a week or 
two. Dr. and Mrs. T. sat yesterday for the last time to 
Stuart. He has now nearly finished all his portraits and 
says he means to go directly to Boston, but that is what 
he has said these two years; being a man of genius, he 

* Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of course does things differently from other people. I 
hope he will be here next winter, as he has bought a 
square to build a "Temple" upon. Where will you cele- 
brate the Fourth of July, my dear sister? We are to 
have gnand doings here. Mr. Van Ness is to deliver an 
oration, Mr. L. says, in the woods, and the ladies are to 
be permitted to partake of the mirth. We have lately had 
a great treat in the company of a charming Prussian 
Baron. All the ladies say they are in love with him, 
notwithstanding his want of personal charms. He is the 
most polite, modest, well-informed and interesting trav- 
eller we have ever met, and is much pleased with Amer- 
ica. I hope one day you will become acquainted with our 
charming Baron Humboldt. He sails in a few days for 
France with his companions, and is going to publish an 
account of his travels in South America, where he lived 
five years, proposing to return here again. He had with 
him a train of philosophers, who, though clever and en- 
tertaining, did not compare to the Baron.* 

Washington, July 16, 1804. 

My Dearest Anna, — Yours from Maine reached me 
yesterday, and I need not say how delighted I am at your 
description of places and persons, and at the knowledge 
of your fecility. We go to Montpellier this week. Payne 
continues weak and sick; and my prospects rise and fall 
to sadness as this precious child recovers or declines. You 
have heard, no doubt, of the terrible duel and death of 
poor Hamilton. f 

Thomas Law was of a noble family ; its nobility was in 
intellectual distinction. His father was a bishop and his 
brothers were bishops and his sisters, wives of bishops, 
except that a brother was the eminent Edward Law, the 
advocate of Warren Hastings, the Lord Chief Justice and 
titled Baron Ellenborough. Thomas Law in early years 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

went to India in the employ of the East India Company 
and in early years became the Collector of a district of 
two million souls and as the Collector had legislative, 
executive and judicial control. He made reforms of 
great good to the people and great glory to himself. Dis- 
agreement with the company and ligitation had the con- 
sequence of his coming to the United States. In Phila- 
delphia, he met the principal promoters of the Capital 
City and caught their enthusiasm to the extent that he 
invested almost all his capital. In Philadelphia, he met 
Miss Elizabeth Custis, Mrs. Washington's grand- 
daughter, and by her charms he was caught and he in- 
vested all his happiness in her. 

Thomas Twining, who visited the Laws at their home 
on the banks of the Potomac, said he was surprised that 
he who had had "the splendor and consequence of a 
prince" should be satisfied with his situation although he 
had "a companion with whom a man might be happy 
anywhere." Mr. Law, abroad, visited his kin; Mrs. 
Law, at home, relieved her loneliness. Mr. Law re- 
turned to hear the gossip. "A Bill elegantly made out in 
due form," in duplicate, of total separation was very 
gratifying to both. Just how Mrs. Law relieved her 
loneliness, Dr. Thornton has this hint in his letter to Mr. 
Madison; August 17, 1803: 

M rs Law has dashed in a very high military state 
lately, & I suppose will beat up for Amazonian Volun- 
teers. My wife said she would write to your good Lady, 
and as all the dear Creatures like a little Tincture of Ex- 
travagance I am confident she will describe Mad e Law in 
Colours that even a Description of Cleopatra's Gala Suit 
could not touch. I shall leave M rs Law therefore on 
Horseback to be taken off by the Ladies, although at- 
tended by seven officers. — 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

It was only a freedom. Mr. Law, himself, said, "I 
have always paid tribute correctly due to Mrs. Law's 
purity of conduct, which I never did impeach." 

Mrs. Madison to Mrs. Law :* 

Washington, Octor 17th 1804. 

My dear Mrs. Law — Mr. Madison is willing to take 
David for 400 dol rs to be paid at the end of the year from 
the time of his coming into service with lawful interest 
from that date, it being understood that at the expiration 
of five years he is to become free, & that in the mean time 
Mr. M. is to be his owner. If these terms are satisfac- 
tory you will be so good as to have the contract prepared 
& on his appearing with it, Mr. Madison will send you 
his obligation for the price. 

The sale of the slave was incident to Mrs. Law's sev- 
erance of the marital tie and relinquishment of house- 
keeping. The provision of the contract, the freedom of 
the slave at the end of a brief period, indicates Mrs. Mad- 
ison's fidelity to Quaker principle — no human property. 

Doctor Manasseh Cutler, by marvellous availment 
of time, was widely wise. He as counsel could con- 
strue the law to favor his client's cause ; indeed, he was 
tendered a judgeship by President Washington. He 
could expound the Scriptures; that was his employ- 
ment by inclination. So well he knew the curative 
qualities of drugs and herbs, he could heal all manner 
of sickness. He could read the signs in the sun, and 
in the moon, and in the stars, and he wrote like the 
astronomers. Like unto the man of wisdom who 

♦Charles Roberts' autographic collection by favor of the Haver- 
ford College, Pennsylvania. 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

"spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is in Leba- 
non even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the 
wall," so could he speak of trees and plants and of all 
that have roots and sprout. 

He did many wonderful things and it takes the large 
volumes to contain them.* In Congress, he perceived 
the politicians were so absorbed in their own official sal- 
vation that they failed to appreciate the importance of 
creating the Botanical Gardens, a measure he advocated. 

Dr. Cutler to Dr. Jonathan Stokes: 

Hamilton, May 15, 1805 

* * * The last winter I had the pleasure of forming 
an acquaintance with a lady who has a fine taste for 
Botany, the lady of your Minister Plenipotentiary, Mrs. 
Merry. She is making progress, and is indefatigable 
in her attention to the plants of this country. 

Washington, June 4, 1805. 

My Dearest Anna, — I wrote to you from my bed, to 
which I have been confined for ten days with a bad knee ; 
it has become very painful, and two doctors have applied 
caustic with the hope of getting me well, but Heaven only 
knows ! I feel as if I should never walk again. My dear 
husband insists upon taking me to Philadelphia to be 
under Dr. Physic's care, but he cannot stay with me, and 
I dread the separation. 

Yesterday we had brother George, Thornton, and Law- 
rence Washington to spend the day, and I enjoyed the 
sound of Virginia hilarity echoing through the house; 
George coughs incessantly, looks thin and hoarse, but has 
no idea of dying. Since I wrote you two days past. I 
have heard sad things of Turreau, — that he whips his 

*The Life, Journals and Correspondence of Manasseh Cutler, — 
William Parker Cutler and Julia Perkins Cutler. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

wife, and abuses her dreadfully; I pity her sincerely; she 
is an amiable, sensible woman. A letter from Mount 
Vernon begging me to come there, but alas ! I shall walk 
no more. 

Yours ever, 


Mrs. Madison's kind words were for Madame, the wife 
of General Turreau de Garambonville, the French Min- 
ister. He was marked for the guillotine and was saved 
by a trick of the jailor's daughter. Gratitude was the 
basis of a marriage without the essential element. She 
followed him to the United States. In society resplen- 
dent in diamonds and gold he appeared but without the 
Madame. In Tayloe's reminiscences is that the cries of 
the Madame aroused the neighbors of Turreau, who lived 
in the Seven Buildings, and that his accomplished sec- 
retary, Count de Carbre, who played exquisitely the flute, 
attempted to drown them by his music. That the neigh- 
bors became indignant and threatening. That at the cli- 
max of the clamor, the eccentric Dr. Thornton arrived 
and arrested the flagellation. That Turreau to Thorn- 
ton, fiercely said : "Dr. Tornton, you do not know de law 
of de nation;" and that Dr. Thornton to Turreau replied 
"But I know the laws of humanity, and I mean to enforce 
them." In fact, the Madame cried out in grief and in 
remonstrance at the General's insistence that she return 
to France. She ultimately did. The circumstances of 
the disturbance in form of sworn testimony was reduced 
to writing by Dr. Thornton in his capacity as a justice of 
the peace. 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Washington, July 8, 1805. 

Still, my dear Anna, must your sister write to you from 
the bed. * * * I feel now very impatient to be in 
Montpellier, and have confidence in the change of air, 
though this place seems to be healthy, if terribly warm 
and dry. I had a long friendly note from the President 
yesterday, begging me to get Virginia's wedding gar- 
ments, also trinkets and dresses for all the family. I 
shall drive to the shops, but am not able to alight ; and so 
little variety in Georgetown; but I must do my best for 
them, and have promised to be at the wedding, if possible, 
the last of this month. * * * The Fourth of July I 
spent at the President's, sitting quite still, and amusing 
myself with the mob. Farewell. 

Your own sister, 


The injured knee which did not yield to the treatment 
of the local practitioners caused a visit to Philadelphia 
for treatment by him with name of professional appro- 
priateness — Doctor Philip Syng Physick. The journey 
to Philadelphia was with suffering and anxiety. She 
tells sister, Anna, July 29, 1805 : 

* * * And here I am on my bed, with my dear hus- 
band sitting anxiously by me, who is my most willing 
nurse. But you know how delicate he is. I tremble for 
him ; one night on the way he was taken very ill with his 
old complaint, and I could not fly to aid him as I used to 
do. Heaven in its mercy restored him next morning, 
and he would not pause until he heard my fate from 
Doctor Physic.f 

Philadelphia, July 31, 1805. 

My Dear Sister, — We are in excellent lodgings on 
Sansom Street, and I feel like another being. Dr. Physic 

* Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

has put my knee in splints and promises me a cure in time. 
I have the world to see me, and many invitations to the 
houses of the gentry, but withstand all, to be at ease here. 
I have not seen where I am, yet, and the longer I stay, the 
less do the vanities tempt me, though, as you know, I 
usually like the routs all too well. You ask who is the 
kindest to me here, and I can tell you that, among a num- 
ber, Betsey Pemberton bears off the palm. Never can I 
forget Betsey, who has been to me what you would have 
been. I have had a lecture from S. L. on seeing too 
much company, and it brought to my mind the time when 
our society used to control me entirely, and debar me 
from so many advantages and pleasures ; even now, I feel 
my ancient terror revive in a great degree. Madison is 
well, though besieged with callers; he sends his love to 
you both, as I do. 

Ever your devoted 


Philadelphia, October 23, 1805. 

A few hours only have passed since you left me, my 
beloved, and I find nothing can relieve the oppression of 
my mind but speaking to you, in this, the only way. Dr. 
Physic called before you had gone far, but I could only 
find voice to tell him my knee felt better. Betsey Pem- 
berton and Amy are sitting by me, and seem to respect 
the grief they know I feel at even so short a separation 
from one who is all to me. I shall be better when Peter 
returns with news, not that any length of time could les- 
sen my first regret, but an assurance that you are well and 
easy will contribute to make me so. * * * Betsey 
puts on your hat to divert me, but I cannot look at her. 

October 24. — What a sad day! The watchman an- 
nounced a cloudy morning at one o'clock, and from that 
moment I found myself unable to sleep, from anxiety for 
thee, my dearest husband. Detention, cold, and accident 
seem to menace thee. Betsey, who lay beside me, ad- 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ministered several drops of laudanum, which had a partial 
effect. Every one is most kind and attentive. 

October 25. — This clear, cold morning will favor your 
journey, and enliven the feelings of my darling. I have 
nothing new to tell you. The knee is mending, and I sit 
just as you left me. The doctor, during his short visits, 
talks of you. He regards you more than any man he 
knows, and nothing could please him so much as a pros- 
pect of passing his life near you; sentiments so congenial 
to my own, and in such cases, like dew-drops on flowers, 
exhilarate as they fall. * * * Adieu, my beloved, 
our hearts understand each other. 

In fond affection thine, 

Dolly P. Madison.* 

Pemberton and Physick and Syng are Philadelphia 
families of ye olden times who went to ye meeting in ye 
morning and drank tea together in ye evening. In her 
journal Elizabeth Drinker says, October 16, 1758. "Spent 
ye afternoon at Israel Pemberton's" ; March 22, 1/59 
"Called after meeting at A. Physick's"; and the next day 
"Called after dinner at P. Syng's, bought a pr. of 

Philadelphia, October 26. 1805. 

My Dearest Husband, — 

Peter returned safe with your dear letter, and cheered 
me with a favorable account of the prospects of your 
getting home in the stage. I was sorry you could not 
ride further in our carriage, as it might have spared you 

In my dreams last night, I saw you in your chamber, 
unable to move, from riding so far and so fast. I pray 
that an early letter from you may chase away the painful 
impression of this vision. I am still improving, and shall 

*Metnoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

observe strictly what you say on the subject of the doc- 
tor's precepts. 

October 28. — I have this moment received the letters 
you inclosed from Washington. I rejoice to hear you 
are there, and shall await the next post with impatience; 
by that, you will speak for yourself. The Marquis and 
Marchioness came to see me yesterday, with many other 
friends. I am getting well as fast as I can, for I have 
the reward in view of then seeing my beloved. Tell me 
if Mrs. Randolph is expected, and all the news you shall 
have time and patience to give me. I have written you 
every day since we parted, but am so shut up that I 
can say nothing to amuse; when I begin to drive out, I 
hope to become a more interesting correspondent. Did 
you see the Bishop, or engage a place at school for 
Payne? Farewell, until to-morrow, my best friend; 
think of thy wife, who thinks and dreams of thee. 


Philadelphia, October 30, 1805. 

I have at this moment perused with delight thy letter, 
my darling husband, with its enclosures. To find you 
love me, have my child safe, and that my mother is well, 
seems to comprise all my happiness. The doctor has 
ordered me some drops, which I take dutifully. I walk 
about the room, and hope a few days more will enable 
me to ride, so that you may expect me to fly to you as soon 
— ah ! I wish I might say how soon. Madame Pichon 
writes me an affectionate letter, and begs me to accept a 
pair of ear-rings for her sake. You no doubt have them, 
as they are not with the letter. I am punctual in deliver- 
ing to Betsey all your commands, and she insists on add- 
ing a postscript to this which I am not to see. I have 
also a letter from the President, asking me to procure 
several articles for Mrs. Randolph, which I shall soon be 
able to do, by driving to the shop doors. There have 
been many callers today, and pressing invitations. It is 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

now past nine o'clock, and I cease to write, only to dream 
of thee. Tell Mrs. Thornton I am having the model of 
a bonnet made for her; the new ones are just coming in. 
Write soon to thy devoted 


Philadelphia, November 1, 1805. 

I have great pleasure, my beloved, in repeating to you 
what the doctor has just told me — that I may reasonably 
hope to leave this place in a fortnight; but I am so im- 
patient to be restored to you. * * * Kiss my child 
for me, and remember me to my friends. Adieu, my 
dear husband. Peter brings me no letter from you, 
which really unfits me from writing more to any one. 

Your ever affectionate 


Yours of the 1st instant my dearest gives me much 
happiness but it cannot be complete till I have you with 
me. Let me know the moment you can of the time you 
will set out that I may make arrangements for paying the 
Dr. &c My tob has been sold in Ricd but unfortunately 
the bills are not yet come on & are on N. York at 60 days 
so that some recognition will be necessary. I did not 
expect you would receive much from your Tenants. 
Dont forget to do something as to insuring the buildings. 
Your question as to Spain & England is puzzling, as one 
gets into ill humor it is possible the other may change her 
countenance. If a general war takes place in Europe 
Spain will probably be less disposed to insult us & Eng- 
land less sparing of her insults whether a war will be 
forced by either is more than can be foreseen. It cer- 
tainly will not if they consult their interest. The power 
of deciding questions of war & providing measures that 
will make or meet it is with Congress & that is always an 
answer to Newspapers. Madam TJ is here the General 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 




Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

is not. Your friends are all well except Capt T* who 
has been in extreme danger but is mending. Mrs T also 
has been unwell. I enclose a letter from Payne & one 
from Mrs. R. Miss P. postscript makes my mouth water. 
Cousin Isaac's would too, if he had ever had the taste 
which I have had. 

Your own 


J. M.f 

Philadelphia, November 15, 1805. 

My Darling Husband, — I have just parted from 
Colonel Patton, who is well pleased with the payment of 
the horses, and congratulated me on possessing such a 
handsome pair. I went to pay some visits this morning, 
and on my return found Anthony Morris waiting, with a 
petition from his wife that I would let him wait upon me 
to her house for some days; but I am too fearful of tax- 
ing my strength, much as I love these old and dear 
friends. * * * 

November 17. — Anna and her husband arrived last 
evening, my beloved, and so pleased and agitated was I, 
that I could not sleep. We will leave on Monday, if I 
am quite strong enough, but I will await your commands. 
Farewell my beloved one, 


The "Bishop" in Mrs. Madison's letter of October 28 
is Bishop John Carroll. He, in answer to Mr. Madison's 
letter of November 1 st , on the 15 th informed him the 
college will be ready to receive his son December 1st. In 
Baltimore Payne had the care of Mrs. Madison's friends. 


■^Writings of James Madison. Gaillard Hunt. 

XMemoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 










Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Latrobe in his journal says:* 

The city abounds in cases of extreme poverty and 
distress. The families of workmen whom the unhealthi- 
ness of the city, and idleness arising from the capricious 
manner in which the appropriations for the erection of 
public buildings have been granted, give to them for a 
short time high wages and again for a whole season do 
not afford them a week's work. The result is distressing. 
Workmen who are ruined in circumstances and health are 
to be found in extreme indigence scattered in wretched 
huts over this waste which the law calls the American 
metropolis. They inhabit the half-finished houses, now 
tumbling to ruin, which the madness of speculation had 
erected. Besides these wretched remnants of industrious 
and happy families enticed hither by their own golden 
dreams, or the golden promises of swindling or deceiving 
speculators. There are higher orders of beings quite as 
wretched and almost as poor, though as yet not quite so 
ragged. These are master tradesmen, chiefly building 
artisans, who purchased lots and perhaps built houses in 
which they invested their all. Many of them brought 
hither have sunk the earnings of a laborious life, which 
in any other spot would have given to them ease and to 
their children education. Distress and want of employ- 
ment has made many of them sots. Few have saved 
their capital. Most of them hate, calumniate or envy 
each other, for they are all fighting for the scanty means 
of support which the city affords. 

Above these again are others who brought large for- 
tunes to this great vortex that swallowed everything ir- 
recoverably that was thrown into it. Law, Duncanson, 
Stoddart, and many others, from affluent circumstances, 
are involved by their sanguine hopes in embarrassment 
from which nothing but the grave will set them free. 

Daily through the city stalks the picture of famine. 
L'Enfant and his dog. * * * He is too proud to 

*Joumal of Benjamin H. Latrobe, Architect of the Capitol at 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

receive any assistance and it is very doubtful in what 
manner he subsists. 

L'Enfant devised the city's plan, so he said. Some say 
he didn't and some say he did. Those who say he did are 
in the large majority. And he that stalked along with a 
bell-shaped hat on his head and the canine sympathizer 
and sharer at his heels, the figure of famine, has been 
given a stone — at Arlington — and his bones lie under it. 
And right on the edge of the city a circle has been given 
his name but the effigy of another man stands within it. 

Washington, May 17, 1806. 
To Dr. Cutler. 

My Dear Sir : — A few days since I had the pleasure to 
receive a letter from Mr. Barclay, informing me that your 
present to me was safely arrived, and should be shipped 
by the first Vessel that sailed for England. Allow me to 
offer my sincere thanks for your great bounty to me, and 
to beg I may have the pleasure of sending you, in return, 
from England, any seeds or plants you may wish for. 

We shall probably sail for England next month; we 
are already packed up, and only await the arrival of Lord 
Selkirk, to embark. I think with pleasure of cultivating 
the American plants, and have some hope Mr. Merry will 
not be immediately employed, so I can enjoy my chief 
delight, my garden and my farm. 

From the Botanical Garden at Cambridge I have re- 
ceived one hundred and fifty different sorts of seeds. 
Will any of them be acceptable to you? If so, I shall 
have pleasure in sending them by the first safe con- 

If Withering's Botany will be useful, I will send it at 
the same time, having two Editions? 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mr. Merry joins me in best wishes for your health and 
happiness, and I remain, my dear sir, 

Your obliged friend and servant, 

Eliz'th Merry. 

P.S. — I beg a line from you soon. I do not yet know 
at what Port we shall embark. 

Samuel Harrison Smith after an exact decade relin- 
quished the proprietorship of The Intelligencer with the 
design of producing from the soil and sowing for literary 
products. Mr. Smith would not be of 

A race 
Of proud-lined loiterers, that never sow, 
Nor put a plant in earth, nor use a plough. 

And he bought, 1803, a farm near the Rock Creek 
Church, now a part of the grounds of the Catholic Uni- 
versity of America. It was called Turkey Thicket; he 
re-named it Sydney. The mansion has been added to, 
front and rear, but its pebble-dashed sides are outlined. 
Mrs. Smith's glad surprise had outlet in 

All I will say is that I am delighted with it. A good 
house on the top of a high hill, with high hills all around 
it, embower'd in woods, thro' an opening of which the 
Potomack, its shores and Mason's Island are distinctly 
seen. I have never been more charmingly surprised than 
on seeing this retreat, but enough of it by and by.*f 

To Miss Susan B. Smith: 

Washington, July 31, 1806 Thursday Evening. 

* * * Last Sunday while I had my little flock around 
me, the noise of carriages drew us to the door and Mr. 

*Forty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 
tSeat of S. H. Smith, Esq. — Historical Sketches of the Ten 
Miles Square. — Jonathan Elliot. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

and Mrs. Madison, Dr. and Mrs. Thornton and Mrs. B. 
came to spend the evening. Mrs. M. was all that was 
tender, affectionate and attractive as usual; Mr. M. was 
in one of his most sportive moods, the Dr. in his philo- 
sophical and the ladies disposed to be pleased. The 
afternoon was passed sans ceremonie, they sat on the 
benches beneath the trees, swung in the hammock, walked 
about and Mrs. T. led the way through the kitchen to 
look at my milk house ; she was so pleased that she called 
the Dr., and he so pleased that he called all the rest and 
so my milk house underwent the inspection of the sec- 
retary, the philosopher and the good ladies.* 

To Mrs. John Payne: 

Montpellier, August 4, 1806. 

Expressions are wanting, my dearest mother, to con- 
vey to you my feelings ; I have not been very well since 
hearing from poor Mary, and it seems to me I can never 
feel as I have done. Dolly and Lucy both gone! they 
are now angels, and can never know evil or misery ; ought 
we not to console ourselves with this reflection? I 
trust my beloved mother, whose trials have been so many, 
will excuse her fortitude, which is to preserve her for 
those of us that are left. I wrote thee by the last post, 
and have written repeatedly to John, but received only 
the enclosed letters. I shall now look out for vessels 
going to the Mediterranean, and write by them to him : 
thine for him, thee had better enclose to me. Payne is 
to follow us in the stage on the 14th ; I am looking for a 
letter to cheer me with the news of thy health. 

Ever thine, affectionately, 


To Mrs. Cutts : 

Washington, March 27, 1807. 

I am grieved, my dear Anna, at not hearing a word 
from you since you left us! What can be the matter? 

*Forty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 
■fMemoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


By Gilbert Stuart 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

If the precious children engross your time, surely my 
good brother would think to relieve my anxiety by writ- 
ing himself. * * * I suppose you have heard that 
Burr is retaken, and on his way to Richmond for trial. 
We are quiet, and have but few parties. We went to the 
wedding feast of Miss Stoddard, and dined last Saturday 
with Mr. Erskine. Miss Clinton is still here with her 
father, but they have sent for a vessel, and intend sailing 
in a few days. 

Ever thy loving sister, 


Mrs. Kate Kearney Henry has inherited by descent the 
congratulory note of Mrs. Madison and her poetic cre- 
ation on the birth of her mother. 

26th Septr 1807 

— I most sincerely congratulate you my dear friend on 
the acquisition you have anounced to me this morn? — 
May the Horoscope of your young daughter be the most 
happy — May the bright aspect of her destiny be cronicled 
in unerring lines — adieu kifs the Parent & child for one 
who sighs to see them. I inclose you one more packet 
for M r W. I cannot doubt but the others have reached 
him safely thro your hands we expect to set out on the 
It day of Oct r & it will take us 4 days to compleat the 

truly yours 

Mr. Forrest 

Twere fair — to thee I send, 
The offering humble, of a tender friend 
With many pious wishes for thy House 
From Husband, Children, to the little Mouse 

D. M 


M r s Madison 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

From the Charles Roberts Autographic Collection in 
the Haverford College, Haverford, Pa. 
To Mrs. Henry Dearborn : 

My dear friend — I send you little Handkerchief & hope 
it will fit you — will the General & yourself have the good- 
ness to take dinner with us on Saturday? we will have 
only 3 or 4 friends — pray do & let me know by your 
coachman tomorrow — I am not very well this morn? or 
I should have spent it with you — ever affectionately 


D. P M 

Mrs. Payne, Mrs. Madison's mother, died Wednesday 
evening, October 21, 1807, at the home of her daughter, 
Mrs. Jackson. General John George Jackson was inter- 
mittently a Member of Congress from Virginia, March 
3, 1807 to March 3, 1817. His speeches monopolized the 
Congressional columns. He was the first District Judge 
for the western part of Virginia, now West Virginia. 

Novr 7th 1807 

Deep affliction my dear friend has for some time past 
arrested my pen! My beloved & tender Mother left us 
forever, on the 20 th of October last — she was in Virgi a 
with my youngest sister where she died without suffering 
or regret 

The lofs is only ours, & for that only ought we, her 
children to mourn ! 

M r Madison writes with me in best wishes, & regard 
for you & yours 

D P Madison 

T can have no doubt but that Fitzgerald's statement is 
proper — & the balance due to us will perhaps answer for 
a new ensurance, if you will have the goodnefs to apply 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Senator Mitchell writes, November 23, 1807 : 

Yesterday I saw at church in the new hall many of 
the great folks here, and had the honor of escorting Mrs. 
Madison through the crowd to her carriage. She in- 
quired kindly after you, and so did Mrs. Cutts. The 
former of these ladies has the prospect of being Lady 

By the arrangement of the Congressional chaplains, 
clergymen without discrimination as to creed, were on 
the Sabbath in the Speaker's chair to deliver a sermon. 
The assemblies were popular and space was at a premium. 
They had more of a ball-room appearance than reverence 
for a sacred place or presence. Whispering and tittering 
and antics calculated to destroy the chance of slumber 
were in evidence as nowadays when the fashionable 
gather at the theatre to prevent those from hearing or 
seeing who have paid for the chance. At these assem- 
blies ludicrous incidents called back to earth when the 
minds were in heavenly direction. 

Mrs. Smith says: 

The music was as little in union with devotional feel- 
ings, as the place. The marine-band were the perform- 
ers. Their scarlet uniforms, their various instruments, 
made quite a dazzling appearance in the gallery. The 
marches they played were good and inspiring, but in their 
attempts to accompany the psalm-singing of the congre- 
gation, they completely failed and after a while, the prac- 
tice was discontinued. — it was too ridiculous.* 

Sir Augustus Foster says: 

Church-service can certainly never be called an amuse- 
ment but, from the variety of persons who were allowed 
to preach in the House of Representatives, there un- 

*Forty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

doubtedly was some alloy of curiosity in the motives 
which led one to go there. Though the regular chaplain 
was a Presbyterian, sometimes a Methodist, a minister of 
the Church of England, or a Quaker, and sometimes even 
a woman, took the Speaker's chair; and I do not think 
there was much devotion among the majority. The 
New Englanders, generally speaking, are very religious 
but, though there are many exceptions, I cannot say as 
much for the Marylanders, and still less for the Vir- 

The Rev. Mr. Brackenridge did the sermonizing some- 
times. Mrs. Smith, of him, says: 

This pious and reverend preacher, made up in zeal 
and fidelity, what he lacked in natural talents or acquired 

And, Mrs. Seaton, of him says : 

We heard to-day a most confused declamatory dis- 
course, without method or matter, from Mr. Breckin- 
ridge, who is the Presbyterian Atlas of the District.f 

If Mr. Brackenridge was not a gifted preacher, he was, 
at least, no false prophet. The violation of the fourth 
commandment aroused his righteous indignation and he 
wrathfully warned: 

It is not the people who will suffer for these enor- 
mities, you, the law-givers, who are the cause of this 
crime, will in your public capacity suffer for it. Yes, it 
is the government that will be punished, and as, with 
Nineveh of old, it will not be the habitations of the people, 
but your temples and your palaces that will be burned to 
the ground, for it is by fire that this sin has usually been 
pun i shed. % 

*Forty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 

^William Winston Seaton. A Biographical Sketch. 

XForty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Herein are repeated anecdotes and traditions of Mrs. 
Madison as history of the anecdotes and traditions and 
not as actualities. 

It is told that Mr. Clay called to pay his respects to 
Mr. Madison; that he with the cherry-ripe smile of the 
door-maid was so taken he kissed her ; that Mr. Madison 
appearing on the scene, she passed the coin to him ; that, 
thereupon, Mr. Clay remarked : "Had I, Madam, known 
you were Mrs. Madison the coin would have been larger." 

Dr. Mitchell in the letter to Mrs. Mitchell, November 
23, 1807, in which he mentioned Mrs. Madison as a pros- 
pective Lady President, says : 

Mr. Madison and Mr. Clinton are the two prominent 
characters talked of to succeed him (Mr. Jefferson.) 
The former gives dinners and makes generous displays 
to the members. The latter lives snug at his lodgings, 
and keeps aloof from such captivating exhibitions. The 
Secretary of State has a wife to aid his pretensions. The 
Vice-President has nothing of female succor on his side. 

And the Doctor reminds of his prophecy: 

Washington, January 25, 1808. 

On Saturday evening there was held a grand caucus 
of the Republican members of Congress at the Capitol, 
of whom about ninety were present. Their object was 
to nominate a President and Vice President of the United 
States for the term of four years from March 4, 1809. 
Almost all the votes ran in favor of James Madison as 
President, and about an equal number were given for 
George Clinton as Vice President. 

So, as I foretold you in my former letters, Mrs. Mad- 
ison has a bright prospect of becoming Lady Presidentess, 
and of being mistress of the sumptuous mansion on Pal- 
atine Hill for four years. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

From John G. Jackson to Mr. Madison : 

Clarksburg July 17th 1808. 
My dear friend 

* * * I cannot write you without saying my miseries 
are past endurance; without speaking of my incalculable, 
& unparallelled misfortunes — you know my Mary well, 
yes you gave her to me at the Altar, you witnefsed our 
union, & our happinefs you saw the little prattlers that 
she gave me — In the short period of seven fleeting years 
all these things took place, & above all but one, — & she 
too dearest of all has been torn from me in the same 
period — 

Not so long after this lamentation, to wit : September 
13, 1810, General Jackson accepted Mr. Madison's con- 
gratulations on another marriage.* 

Montpellier, August 28, 1808. 

With heartfelt joy, my beloved sister, did I receive the 
short letter of my brother, giving the good tidings of 
your third son, and the promising health of you both. 
Mr. Madison, Lucy, George and Payne were with me, 
and we all clapped our hands in triumph. * * * 

Lucy left me on the 24th, and George seemed no better. 
We expect to go back to the city the last of September, 
because of public business. The President and Madison 
have been greatly perplexed by the remonstrances from 
so many towns to remove the Embargo. You see they 
refer to Congress, and the evading it is a terrible thing. 
Madison is uneasy and feels bound to return to the seat 
of government, where I shall be sorry to go so soon. 
The hope of my meeting you, dear Anna, is the chief 
sweetener to my prospects. The family here are as they 
always are, most affectionate and kind, and send a thous- 
and loves to you. I expect a large party to fill the house 
next week. 

Ever thy 

*Married Miss Mary Meigs, daughter of Return J. Meigs, Post- 
master under President Madison. 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

From the Charles Roberts Autograph Collection in 
Haverford College, Haverford, Pa. 

To Doct r Thomas Park enclosing; November 30. 1808, 
acknowledgment of rent collected from K. Fitzgerald and 
Dr. Soltanstall: 

You have allways been so good to me my dear friend 
that I will not even now dispair of your forgiveness. — 
Six weeks ago we ware flatter'd with the hope of seeing 
you & your daughter in Washington, where I proposed 
to make my peace by a personal explanation of all omis- 

As it is, permit me to assure you of my gratitude & 
respect and my sincear wishes for your health & happi- 
ness in which my Husband cordially joins me 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 




HE Senator contrasts the Madison dinners and 
displays with the competitor's social aloofness. 
Dinners and displays are decisive diplomacy. 

That all-softening, overpowering knell, 
The tocsin of the soul, — the dinner-bell. 

The call that appetite has on mortals will be in the 
future as in the past and as in the present, equally strong. 
The alarm that Lord Byron poetically acknowledges will 
always have the waiting with open ears. There is music 
in the tinkle of glass, melody in the rattle of knives and 
forks and spoons, fragrance in the aroma and beauty in 
the decoration to all who have appetite. In eating and 
drinking is there zest to conversation and conviviality — 
a mental elation as much as a treat to taste — and for the 
time a respite from the worries. The Madison diplomacy 
— dinners and displays — was not the planned means for 
an end, it was the irreflective manifestation of generous 

Mrs. Thornton's Diary: 

(1809) March 1. Wednesday. Mr & Mrs. Madison 
dined with us for the last time I suppose — also Mr. & 
Mrs. Cutts Mr. Jackson — the Attorney Genl — & Mr 
Craig from Phil a 

General Washington was not inaugurated until April 
30th. The first inauguration had its inaugural ball. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The Daily Advertiser. 
New York, Friday, May 8, 1789. 

Last evening the Subscribers of the Dancing Assem- 
bly gave an elegant BALL and ENTERTAINMENT 
to his Excellency the President of the United States, 
who was pleased to honor the company with his pres- 
ence. — His Excellency the Vice-President, most of the 
members of both Houses of Congress, the Governor of 
New York, the Chancellor, and Chief Justice of the 
State the hon. John Jay, and the hon. Gen. Knox, the 
Commissioners of the Treasury, his Worship the Mayor 
of the city, the late President of Congress, the Gov. 
of the Western Territory, the Baron Steuben, the Count 
de Mouftier, Ambassador of his most Christian Majesty, 
and many other foreigners of distinction were present. 
A numerous and brilliant collection of Ladies graced 
the room with their appearance. The whole number of 
persons was about three hundred. The company retired 
about two o'clock, after having spent a most agreeable 
evening. Joy, satisfaction and vivacity was expressive 
in every countenance — and every pleasure seemed to be 
heightened by the presence of Washington. 

The second inaugural ball has this announcement : 

Dunlap's American Daily Advertiser. 

Saturday, March 2, 1793. 

A Card. 

THE Members of the Senate and House of Repre- 
sentatives of the United States are respectfully in- 
vited to a Ball on the fourth March, 1793; to be given 
by the Dancing Assembly in honor of the Unanimous 
Re-election of GEORGE WASHINGTON, the Presi- 
dent of the United States; — the Anniversary of the 
Present Form of the Government of the United States; 
and, a Parting Leave with the Members of the Present 

February 27th, 1793. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Neither Adams or Jefferson had the introductory fes- 
tivity. The next inaugural ball after Washington's sec- 
ond was Madison's at Washington. 

March 4, 1809. The National Intelligencer tells of 
Mr. Madison's first installation as Chief Magistrate this 

On Saturday, James Madison in obedience to the 
voice of his country, assumed the duties of President 
of the U. States. The day, from its commencement to 
its close, was marked by the liveliest demonstrations of 
joy. It appeared as if the people, actuated by a general 
and spontaneous impulse, determined to manifest, in the 
strongest manner, the interest excited by this great 
event, and their conviction of the close connection be- 
tween it and their happiness. 

Mr. Madison came dressed to be inaugurated "in a 
full suit of cloth of American manufacture, made of the 
wool of Merinos raised in this country; his coat, from 
the manufactory of Col. Humphreys, and his vestcoat 
and small clothes from that of Chancellor Livingston, 
the clothes being, we understand, severally presented by 
those gentlemen." 

The National Intelligencer, a Republican paper, could 
recognize real merit: 

Of the Inaugural Address, without attempting a 
critique, we may be permitted to say, that in point^ of 
stile it is chaste and nervous, and in point of principle 
worthy of the man so honorable called upon to preside 
over the affairs of a free and enlightened people. 

Mrs. Smith says: 

Mr. Madison was extremely pale and trembled ex- 
cessively when he first began to speak, but soon gained 
confidence and spoke audibly. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

After the inaugural ceremonies there was a reception 
to the public by Mr. and Mrs. Madison at their residence 
— the street was blocked with carriages and the house 
thronged with people. 

Says Mrs. Smith: 

She looked extremely beautiful, was drest in a plain 
cambrick dress with a very long train, plain round the 
neck without any handkerchief, and a beautiful bonnet 
of purple velvet, and white sattin with white plumes. 
She was all dignity, grace and affability. 

Gaillard Hunt in The First Inauguration Ball* with 
the delightful detail makes then almost now — tells who 
were there, how they got there and how they appeared 
when there. The new President and the Presidentess 
came in "the Presidential coach with its four stout horses 
and black coachman and footman" ; the President of the 
Board of Alderman and Mrs. Carroll, his wife, in a coach 
with four mules. Mr. Carroll owned the property where 
the ball was given and lived at Duddington all of two 
squares from it. 

National Intelligencer : 

Inauguration Ball. 

A Dancing Assembly will be held on the 4th inst. at 
Mr. Long's Hotel — Tickets to be obtained at the bar, 
on application to a Manager. 

Thomas Tingey, 
John P. Van Ness, 
Franklin Wharton, 
Daniel Carroll, 
John Tayloe, 
James H. Blake, 

William Brent, 
John Graham, 
A. Henderson, 
James Eakin, 
John Law, 
Isaac A. Cole. 

♦Scribner's Magazine, March, 1905. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

N. B. The Dancing will commence at 7 o'clock pre- 

March 1— 2t.* 

Says Mrs. Smith of Mrs. Madison: 

She looked a queen. She had on a pale buff coloured 
velvet, made plain, with a very long train, but not the 
least trimming — a beautiful pearl necklace, earrings & 
bracelet — her head dress was a turban of the same 
colour'd velvet & white satin — (from Paris) with two 
superb plumes of the bird of paradise feathers. It 
would be absolutely impossible for any one to behave 
with more perfect propriety than she did. Unassuming 
dignity, sweetness, grace — It seems to me, that such 
manners would disarm envy itself & conciliate even 

To the Ball came four hundred from hereabout and 
all the way from Baltimore. The grand entrance began 
by Jefferson's March and the coming in of Mr. Jefferson 
with his escort, Mr. Coles. The band struck Madison's 
March, and followed Mrs. Madison escorted by a man- 
ager, preceding Mr. Madison and Mrs. Cutts. The man- 
agers presented Mrs. Madison with a dancing-card. Said 
she, "What am I to do with it. I do not dance?" Re- 
plied the gallant Captain Tingey, "Give it to your neigh- 
bor." Responded she, "Oh, no, that would look like par- 
tiality." The Captain with "Then I will" passed it to 
Mrs. Cutts. 

The small space was packed with people. Some stood 
on benches for relief. The window panes were broken to 
prevent suffocation. The crowd pressed upon Mr. and 
Mrs. Madison and upon her to catch a word, or smile, 

*Robert Long was the Proprietor. The northern house of 
Carroll Row. Site of Library of Congress. 


Life and Letters o£ Dolly Madison 

or a look. Said Mrs. Smith, sympathetically, to him: 
"I wish with all my heart I had a little bit of a seat to 
offer you." With a most woe begone face, and looking 
as if he could scarcely stand, said he "I wish so too." The 
managers interrupted with a request that he remain to 
the supper and assenting he turned to her — "But I would 
much rather be in bed." 

To the supper Mrs. Madison was led by General Tur- 
reau de Garambonville, the French Minister, and Mrs. 
Cutts by the Honorable David Montague Erskine,* the 
English Minister. Mrs. Madison sat at the centre of the 
table between these Ministers : 

Mrs. Smith noted : 

I chose a place where I could see Mrs. M. to advan- 
tage. She really, in manners and appearance, answered 
all my ideas of royalty. She was so equally gracious to 
both French and English, and so affable to all. 

John Quincy Adams in his diary noted: 

And in the evening went with the ladies to a ball at 
Long's in honor of the new President. The crowd was 
excessive, the heat oppressive and the entertainment 

Mrs. Thornton's Diary: 

(1809) March 4. I went to the Capitol with M r * F.,f 
D r T. and M r Weightman having the carriage horses in 
the Troop — an immense crowd to hear M r M's speech — 
returned & paid our respects to the new president & Lady. 
— a crowd there too went to the Ball — near 400 persons 
at it the old & new presidents attending Ball $4.00 

March 11. Mr & M™ M. went to the Great House. 
M r M. came in after dinner for a few minutes. 

*Married Frances Cadwalader; lived in Peter Mansion, 2618 
K N.W. 

fMrs. Richard Forrest. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

March 20. We bought Mr Mrs M. tables $50.00. 

Mrs. Thornton also records that the Dr. and herself 
dined on the 24th of that month "at the president's with 
a large party; and, on the 31st, when it rained "we went 
in Mrs. Duvall's carriage to M s first drawing room even- 

The popularity of the First Lady is illustrated by the 
advertisement here abbreviated : 

Washington Theatre 
In Honor of the Day! 
* * * 




After which will be 
presented an Entertainment, 
call'd the 


Consisting of Singing, Dancing and Recitation to com- 
mence with Mrs. Madison's Minuet and Allemands, (as 
composed by Mr. Francis) By Mr. Francis and Mrs. 

The government conscious of its growth and greater 
importance in the galaxy of the nations and in a spirit 
of pride appropriated five thousand dollars for furnishing 
its President's house in a more elegant style. It was done 
under the supervision of the architect, Latrobe, and his 
account is dated May 29, 1809.* 

If at times the tie of friendship between the Madisons 
and Thorntons became loosened, as likely it did, Mrs. 
Madison always heartily accepted the proffer of Mrs. 

*The itemized account is in Dolly Madison. — Maud Wilder 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Thornton that it be quickly tightened. Friends as lovers 
have their differences to equally enjoy the reconcilements. 

23 d August. 

— I feel grateful to you my dear M rs Thornton for 
you(r) last letter, & particularly so, for the sentements 
of friendship & affection you exprefs in it — I never had 
a doubt but that the Doct r would settle his differences 
with the Patent men with satisfaction & honor to him- 
self — nor could I doubt that he would ever loose sight of 
his antient friendship with M r M. — I trust he will never 
find it essential to go to Tortola as I cannot believe such 
a removal would tend to your happinefs — in which I have 
allways felt an interest — my dear Sister left me this 
morng & I feel gloomy in consequence of a separation 
which may be very long — dear Anna has her 3 d son & 
is perfectly well. Jack Madison the youth who was so ill, 
is much better & at the springs — M r Fairfax slept here 
a few nights ago — when very unfortunately for us we 
were visiting at brother W ms . We should have been 
gratified at seeing & entertaining M r F but he was hasten- 
ing home after a Tour of the South on businefs — This 
was a week ago — We go to Monticello tomorrow as pub- 
lic businefs oblidges M r M. to see the President — pray 
tell me when M rs Barlow returns from Phil a & when 
she's comeing to Virg a & any thing else tell me, that you 
can — I expect to see you before long — at least there is a 
prospect of our return to W. before the end of Sept. 

Adeiu for the present — give my love to your Mama & 
the Doc r . 

Truly Yours 

D P M 

in such haste that I have not time to write tolerably — M r 
M & Payne add best regards — 

1st Sept. 

You allways write charming letters my dear M rs T & 
when I profit by them as I have done by your last I lament 

my inability to return you the same For tho the world 

may be dull with us, yet you, are in or near a town. I 











Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

am absolutely in the country where the people I see are 
nearly all unknown to you — This of course must make 
me lack the pleasing incident — We returned from Monti- 
cello after pafsing a week with the inhabitants M rs Ran- 
dolph looks fat & cheerful her new son is a fine one but 
crofs as you could wish anything to be. Ann was most 
busily occupied in making drefses &c & & for her weed- 
ing (wedding) which is to take place on the 15 th of this 
month. They wished us to be there on the occasion but 
that was out of the question. The President had a good 
deal of company — among them was M r Hay who is to 
Marry Mifs Monroe Mr Wert the author of the British 
Spy & c I did not see M rs Monroe or M rs Trist who 
ware in the neighborhood — on our return, we spent a day 
& night at Col° Walkers — they enquired affectionately 
after you — Your Mama & the Doc r . Mrs Nelson re- 
minded me of past times when playing on her delightful 
organ — I expect the whole family in a day or 2 to pay 
me a visit — we have some company, lately arrived, from 
the upper country. They tell me they saw M r & M rs R 
Smith near Bath in Berkley — so I suppose they have 
changed their rout from the York to the Virg* Springs 
— I am glad to find that you have gay partys now & then 
& hope they will continue as I hope to join in your bustle 
by & by — 

I should like to see a good Play once more but fear 
they will not stay with you long enuf — We have not 
fixed on the day of returning, but suppose the last in this 
month may bring us up — I am obliged to leave you, with- 
out saying half I wish, as I am in the midst of mirth & 
confusion. I am greaved to hear of the sicknefs in the 
city — is it in our neighborhood? We shall not have a 
good Bunch of grapes this season — all withered — Have 
you heard of a Barrel of Slips M rs Cathcart sent me? I 
fear they will be spoil d unlefs buried in the earth. 

Adeiu M r M & Payne beg to add their best regard & 
wishes, with mine for you. 

& yours, 
Mrs Thornton 

F Street 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The Rev. Teunis S. Hamlin in Historic Homes of 
Washington* relates, from Tayloe's reminiscences, that 
Madison having doubts of Dolly's mental qualifications, 
and to test, gave her a book to read and criticize. That 
she, wily Quakeress, had Burr write a letter of opinion 
for her to copy. And, the letter in Burr's brilliancy con- 
vinced Madison "that his lady-love's intellect was equal 
to her beauty." The reverend gentleman should have 
thought of the apocrypha as he repeated this unlikely 
story. The fair Quakeress would hardly ask another to 
do what she could so well do herself. Dolly appreciated 
Burr's intermediary commission and its happy conclusion, 
if endowed with ordinary gratitude. That Burr thought 
himself entitled to gratitude is natural and it is a fact. 
To have the advantage of that sentiment at a time of 
trouble, Theodosia Burr Alston, June 24, 1809, from 
Rocky River Springs, wrote to Mrs. Madison to inter- 
cede with the President to permit her father to return 
to the country.! And the same year, Rebecca Blodget 
(Mrs. Samuel Blodget )% from Washington prayed the 
President to remove the prosecution against Burr; ap- 
pealing to him to ignore the justice or injustice of it, and, 
indirectly, brought Mrs. Madison into the issue. And, 
it is in print, that Burr surreptitiously called upon her; 
that he leaped over the low paling fence enclosing the 
grounds of the palace and found Mrs. Madison watering 
the roses; that he seemed to argue with her and that she 
silently and seriously listened; and that, in the circus 
manner he came, he left. 

*Scribner's Magazine, October, 1893. 

fLife of Col. Aaron Burr. Charles Burr Todd. 

^Portrait in Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

July 22d, 1809. 
Dear Madam, 

When I reflect on your amiable condescention, in con- 
ferring on me the elegant representation of your present 
self I am at a lofs how to thank you sufficiently — M r & 
M rs Cadwalader who have lately seen its lovely & greatly 
beloved original at Washington, both pronounce it to be 
as correct a resemblance as the painters art can portray — 
Indeed I cannot exprefs the variety, nor the degree of 
pleasure & pride it affords to myself & all my Friends ; 
Those who formerly enjoyed the pleasure of your ac- 
quaintance, retrace the lines, features and expressions of 
a face and form on which they once gazed with delight, 
& those who have not been so favored gratify an anxious 
and amiable curiosity, on beholding a just resemblance of 
Her, in whose virtues they also claim an interest, as the 
dignified representative of our sex in every female virtue 
adorned with all her sex's beauty, grace & lovelinefs — 
* * * Adieu my dearest M rs Madison when I write 
to you, I forget myself in so delightful an employment; 
even now I lay down my pen with reluctance. 
Believe me your most 

obliged, devoted & affectionate 

Phebe P. Morris. 

Gaillard Hunt says : 

The original house at Montpelier was built between 
1756 and 1760 by Madison's father and was a plain, rec- 
tangular brick edifice of four rooms. It was enlarged 
at different times and various improvements made, the 
most important being in 1809 by Dr. Thornton. Latrobe 
also lent assistance in adding the wings. The house was 
of flawless taste architecturally when Mrs. Smith paid 
her visit.* 

Mrs. Madison, the mother of Mr. Madison, had a sep- 
arate establishment in a wing of the mansion. Mother 
Madison grew old gracefully and in old age had the en- 
ergy of mind of her youth. 

*Forty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Smith's account of the Smiths' visit to Montpel- 
lier is under date, August 4, 1809 :* 

The sadness which all day hung on my spirits was 
instantly dispelled by the cheering smile of Mrs. Madison 
and the friendly greeting of our good President. * * * 
No restraint, no ceremony. Hospitality is the presiding 
genius of this house, and Mrs. M. is Kindness per- 
sonified. She enquired why I had not brought the little 
girls, I told her the fear of incomoding my friends. "Oh," 
said she laughing, "I should not have known they were 
here, among all the rest, for at this moment we have only 
three and twenty in the house." "Three and twenty," ex- 
claimed I, "Why where do you store them?" "Oh we have 
room in plenty." * * * At this house I realized 
being in Virginia, Mr. Madison, plain, friendly, com- 
municative, and unceremonious as any Virginia planter 
could be — Mrs. Madison, uniting to all the elegance and 
polish of fashion, the unadulterated simplicity, frank- 
ness, warmth, and friendliness of her native character 
and native state. Their mode of living, too, if it had 
more elegance than is found among the planters, was 
characterized by that abundance, that hospitality, and that 
freedom, we are taught to look for on a Virginian plan- 
tation. * * * The gentlemen went to the piazza, 
the ladies, who all had children, to their chambers, and I 
sat with Mrs. M. till bed time talking of Washington. 
* * * How unassuming, how kind is this woman. 
How any human being be her enemy. Truly, in her there 
is to be found no gall, but the pure milk of human kind- 

Mrs. Smith tells of the attentions to her, affectionate 
and thoughtful and feminine. That "no man is a hero 
to his valet-de-chambre" had the reverse exposition at 
Montpellier in Nany, the maid: "Yes, the best I believe 
in the world, — I am sure I would not change her for 
any mistress in the whole country." 

*Forty Years of IVashington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 












Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The spirited letter to Mr. Latrobe has the glint of 
pique. It is the only letter found that shows rufflement 
of temper. It was written on a spur. In Mrs. Madison's 
letter may be detected irony or of the other forms of 
expression that are used to wound. Be that as it may, 
it phrases trenchantly various phases of worldly wisdom. 
An absence of inquisitiveness about others' affairs on her 
part, she has happily hit. "It is one of my sources of 
happiness never to desire a knowledge of other people's 

Sept: 12th 1809. 

Incredulous, indeed must be. the ear that receives with- 
out belief the "varnished tale," but most happy would it 
be, for you, could you listen without emotion, to the va- 
riety of falsehoods, framed but to play, on your sensibil- 
ity. — The letter I have this moment rec d from you, gives 
me uneasinefs; because I find my conduct, which always 
contradicted any opinion, or exprefsion against you, has 
been insufficient to afsure you judgment, that I would, 
at least — be consistent. — In the first place my affection 
for M rs Latrobe would in itself prevent my doing injus- 
tice to her Husband — & in the next, I always knew, that 
/ had no right to animadvert on his journeys, or conduct, 
as a public officer — {& as it is one of my sources of hap- 
pinefs, never to desire a knowledge of other people's busi- 
nefs). Thirdly, I never for a moment doubted your taste 
or honour, in the direction of public buildings, or even in 
the building of our little Carriage. The moment we ex- 
amined the latter, we declared you had been deceived by 
the maker. 

M rs Sweny is a woman of many words — I have never 
talk'd to her, or before her, but of her work. — In your 
absence; she would reherse to the Household terrible 
tales of dis-affection, from the Capitol — which I lamented 
for your sake — I can account for M rs Sweny's mis-infor- 
mation to you, only by supposing her offended at my 
leaving her but little to do in the house — not knowing 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

how far I could incur additional * * * I therefore 
ordered, that she should merely repair the beds. — I shall 
be strict in my examination of the servants, when I return 
as I wish to know those, who have taken the liberty to 
misrepresent me. I will say little of the anonymous let- 
ters, but that you excite my surprise at suffering them to 
have the slightest effect on your spirits, or transactions. 
Allow me again to thank you, with all my heart, for the 
trouble you have taken, in many instances, to oblige and 
accommodate me, — and tho' our enemies may strive to 
throw around me, ungrateful appearances, I shall take a 
pleasure in counteracting their designs. — 

D. P. Madison. 

Mr. Latrobe, the justly famous architect, justly, be- 
cause of the monuments of his genius, had of the traits 
with which a genius is privileged — excitability and irri- 
tability. His genius was of such superiority he could at 
once perceive the flaws in the creation of any other 
genius, which, in his openness and to undeceive the peo- 
ple, he promptly pointed out. The mentioned traits 
caused the architect to make criticisms and contests. Mrs. 
Madison ought not to have been surprised that the famous 
architect was disturbed at anonymous attack. Of all at- 
tacks that from the unseen and unknown source is most 
destructive to peace of mind as it from uncertainty pro- 
duces a spreading suspicion embracing friend and foe and 
at the same time deprives the victim of defense. The 
less sensitive than a genius can but suffer by the cowardly 

Joseph Pearson came to Congress from North Caro- 
lina and General Jackson, Mrs. Madison's brother-in-law, 
came too from Virginia. These statesmen had a politi- 
cal difference. To arbitrate its merit they decided to 
shoot at each other, which they did somewhere in the out- 
skirts. It was a rather difficult difference to arbitrate 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

for at the first fire was no decision. The second fire 
proved that the General was right in the contention for 
he hit Mr. Pearson and hurt him badly. Whether Mrs. 
Madison knew aforetime of the arbitration and was 
alarmed at the outcome, the newspapers have no men- 
tion, neither of the affair itself. 

Mr. and Mrs. Madison, the first New Year's Day of 
their regime, gave a reception. It was as popular as those 
of these years. Mrs. Thornton in the diary has recorded 
that Monday, January 1st, 1810, was a very fine day; and 

A very crowded af sembly at the presidents. We staid 
about two hours, president & Lady went to Georget" 
Afsembly Chariot broke at night. 

George Watterston wrote novels and histories. These 
were in prose. In poetry were his romances. First came 
"The Wanderer in Jamaica," 1810. He dedicated this 
poem to Mrs. Dolly Madison, so: 

Madam, I have presumed to address this poetical ef- 
fusion to you, from the reputation you have acquired of 
being desirous to promote the cause of general literature. 

Mr. Madison read this dedication and recognized in 
it Mr. Watterston's capability as a librarian. And, at the 
first available chance, he made him it for the Library of 

The social joys and the city conditions at this period 
of Mrs. Madison's life is told by Sir Augustus Foster, 
then on his second visit: 

Most of the members of the Congress, it is true, keep 
to their lodgings, but still there a sufficient number of 
them who are sociable, or whose families come to the 

^History of the Library of Congress. William Dawson Johnston. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

city for a season, and there is no want of handsome ladies 
for the balls, especially at George Town; indeed, I never 
saw prettier girls anywhere. As there are but few of 
them, however, in proportion to the great number of men 
who frequent the places of amusement in the federal city, 
it is one of the most marrying places of the whole conti- 
nent — a truth which was beginning to be found out, and 
became, by-and-by, the cause of vast numbers flocking 
thither all round from the four points of the compass. 
Maugre the march of intellect so much vaunted in the 
present century, the literary education of these ladies is 
far from being worthy of the age of knowledge, and con- 
versation is apt to flag, though a seat by the ladies is 
always much coveted. Dancing and music served to eke 
out the time, but one got to be heartily sick of hearing 
the same song everywhere, even when it was "Just like 
love is yonder rose." No matter how this was sung — 
the words alone were the men-traps ; the belle of the even- 
ing was declared to be just like both — and people looked 
round as if the listener was expected to become on the 
instant very tender and to propose — and sometimes such 
a result does in reality take place, and both parties, when 
betrothed, use a great deal of billing and cooing, eat out 
of the same plate, drink out of the same glass, and show 
off their love to the whole company. 

* * * 

In going to assemblies one had sometimes to drive 
three or four miles within the city bounds, and very often 
at great risk of an overturn, or of being what was termed 
"stalled," or stuck in the mud, when one can neither go 
backwards nor forwards, and either loses one's shoes or 
one's patience. 

Anna Hollingsworth Wharton has contributed an item 
of social history.* 

Visitors to the capital then, as in our own day, were 
expected to leave their cards at the White House. In 

^Social Life in the Early Republic. 

^ tt & s 


This fold-out is being digitized, and will be inserted at a 

future date. 



This fold-out is being digitized, and will be inserted at a 

future date. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

one of her letters to a friend in another city Mrs. Madi- 
son expressed lively regret that some of her Philadelphia 
acquaintances had not left their cards, as she wished to 
invite them to dinner, and had no idea where they were 
stopping, having sent to several of the "principal tav- 
erns" to try to find them. 

Sir Augustus Foster made a tour in Virginia. At fif- 
teen miles from Montpellier he made the acquaintance of 
a Scotchman, Mr. Dowie; and through him he made the 
acquaintance of "the 'estimable beverage called mint- 
julep." Sir Augustus says : 

There are some very fine woods about Montpelier, but 
no pleasure-grounds, though Mr. Madison talked of some 
day laying out a space for an English park, which he 
might render very beautiful from the easy, graceful de- 
scent of his hills into the plains below. 

I thought Mr. Jefferson more of a statesman and man 
of the world than Mr. Madison, who was rather too much 
the disputatious pleader; yet the latter was better in- 
formed, and, moreover, a social, jovial, and good-hu- 
moured companion, full of anecdote, sometimes rather 
of a loose description, but oftener of a political and his- 
torical interest. He was a little man with small features, 
rather wizened when I saw him, but occasionally lit up 
with a good-natured smile. He wore a black coat, stock- 
ings with shoes buckled, and had his hair powdered, with 
a tail. 

In the parlors of the Union Tavern in Georgetown, 
Mrs. Madison crowned the pretty Miss Margaret 
O'Neale, the award for the most graceful exhibition of 
the pupils of a dancing school. Miss Margaret is known 
to fame as "Peggy O'Neale." In Jackson's administra- 
tion, she it was, who kicked up a social storm.* 

*Margaret O'Neill in Famous American Belles of the Nineteenth 
Century. Virginia Tatnall Peacock. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Ever since Dolly had been Mrs. Madison, Anna, a 
sister, lived with her and until she became Mrs. Cutts. 
Mr. Cutts was a member of Congress from the district 
of Maine, then a part of the Commonwealth of Massa- 
chusetts. When Mr. Cutts came to Washington, Anna 
came too, and was near Dolly. Lucy, the widow of 
George Steptoe Washington, came occasionally to live 
with Dolly. They — Dolly, Lucy and Anna — made a 
radiant trio. 

Washington Irving to Henry Brevoort: 

City of Washington, Jan. 13, 1811. 
Dear Brevoort: 

My journey to Baltimore was terrible and sublime — 
as full of adventurous matter and direful peril as one of 
Walter Scott's pantomimic, melo-dramatic, romantic 
tales. I was three days on the road, and slept one night 
in a log-house. Yet somehow or another, I lived through 
it all; and lived merrily into the bargain, for which I 
thank a large stock of good humor, which I put up before 
my departure from New York, as travelling stores to last 
me throughout my expedition. * * * 

The ride from Baltimore to Washington was still 
worse than the former one ; but I had two or three gen- 
iuses for fellow-passengers, and made out to amuse my- 
self very well. I arrived at the Inn about dusk; and, un- 
derstanding that Mrs. Madison was to have her levee or 
drawing-room that very evening, I swore by all my gods I 
would be there. But how? was the question. I had got 
away down into Georgetown, and the persons to whom my 
letters of introduction were directed, lived all upon Capi- 
tol Hill, about three miles off, while the President's house 
was exactly half way. Here was a non-plus enough to 
startle any man of less enterprising spirit; but I had 
sworn to be there, and I determined to keep my oath, and 
like Caleb Quotem, to "have a place at the Review." So 
I mounted with a stout heart to my room ; resolved to put 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

on my pease blossoms and silk stockings; gird up my 
loins ; and sally forth on my expedition ; and like a vaga- 
bond knight errant, trust to Providence for success and 
whole bones. Just as I descended from my attic cham- 
ber full of this valorous spirit, I was met by my landlord, 
with whom, and the head waiter, by-the-bye, I had held 
a private cabinet counsel on the subject. Bully Rook in- 
formed me that there was a party of gentlemen just going 
from the house, one of whom, Mr. Fontaine Maury, of 
New York, had offered his services to introduce me to 
"the sublime Porte." I cut one of my best opera flour- 
ishes ; skipped into the dressing-room, popped my head 
into the hands of a sanguinary Jacobinical barber, who 
carried havoc and desolation into the lower regions of 
my face, mowed down all the beard on one of my cheeks 
and laid the other in blood like a conquered province; 
and thus, like a second Banquo, with "twenty mortal 
murthers on my head" ; in a few minutes I emerged from 
dirt and darkness into the blazing splendor of Mrs. Madi- 
son's drawing-room. Here I was most graciously re- 
ceived; found a crowded collection of great and little 
men, of ugly old women and beautiful young ones, and 
in ten minutes was hand and glove with half the people 
in the assemblage. Mrs. Madison is a fine, portly, buxom 
dame, who has a smile and a pleasant word for everybody. 
Her sisters, Mrs. Cutts and Mrs. Washington, are like the 
two merry wives of Windsor : but as to Jemmy Madison 
— ah poor Jemmy! — he is but a withered little apple — 
John. * * * 

Since that memorable evening I have been in a con- 
stant round of banqueting, revelling and dancing. The 
Congress has been sitting with closed doors, so that I have 
not much of the wisdom of the nation; but I have had 
enough matter for observation and entertainment to last 
me a handful of months. I only want a chosen fellow 
like yourself to help me wonder, admire, and laugh — as 
it is, I must endeavor to do these things as well as I can 
by myself. 

I am delightfully moored "head and stern" in the fam- 
ily of John P. Van Ness, brother of William P. He is an 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

old friend of mine, and insisted on my coming to his 
house the morning after my arrival. The family is very 
agreeable. Mrs. Van Ness is a pretty and pleasant little 
woman, and quite gay; then there are two pretty girls 
likewise, one a Miss Smith, clean from Long Island, her 
father being member of Congress ; she is a fine blooming 
country-lass, and a great belle here; you see I am in 

clover — happy dog! 

Washington, Feb. 7, 1811. 

Dear Brevoort: 

* * * 

I wish with all my heart you had come on with me, for 
my time has passed delightfully. I have become ac- 
quainted with almost everybody here, and find the most 
complete medley of character I ever mingled amongst. 
As I do not suffer party feelings to bias my mind I have 
associated with both parties, and have found worthy and 
intelligent men in both, with honest hearts, enlightened 
minds, generous feelings, and bitter prejudices. A free 
communication of this kind tends more than any thing 
else to divest a man's mind of party bigotry, to make him 
regardless of those jaundiced representations of persons 
and things which he is too apt to have held up to him by 
party writers, and to beget in him that candid, tolerant, 
good-natured habit of thinking, which I think every man 
that values his own comfort and utility should strive to 

You would be amused, were you to arrive here just 
now, to see the odd and heterogeneous circle of ac- 
quaintances I have formed. One day I am dining with 
a knot of honest, furious Federalists, who are damning 
all their opponents as a set of consummate scoundrels, 
panders of Bonaparte, &c, &c. The next day I dine, 
perhaps, with some of the very best men I have heard 
thus anathematized, and find them equally honest, warm, 
and indignant; and if I take their word for it, I had been 
dining the day before with some of the greatest knaves 
in the nation, men absolutely paid and suborned by the 
British government. 


By James Peale 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

To show you the mode of life I lead, I give you my 
engagements for this week. On Monday I dined with 
the mess of officers at the barracks ; in the evening a ball at 
Van Ness's. On Tuesday with my cousin Knickerbocker 
and several merry Federalists. On Wednesday I dined 
with General Turreau; who had a very pleasant party of 
Frenchmen and democrats ; in the evening at Mrs. Madi- 
son's levee, which was brilliant and crowded with inter- 
esting men and fine women. On Thursday a dinner at 
Latrobe's. On Friday a dinner at the Secretary of the 
Navy's,* and in the evening a ball at the Mayor's. f Sat- 
urday as yet is unengaged. At all the parties you meet 
with so many intelligent people that your mind is con- 
tinually and delightfully exercised. 

Eight or more trips Mr. Irving made to Washington. 
This the second, was to watch the Congressional measures 
likely to disastrously affect the fortunes of the mercantile 
firm (R. & E. Irving & Co. in New York and P. Irving & 
Co. in England) of which he had recently become a part- 
ner. An appointment as Secretary to the Minister to 
France was suggested and the suggestion was pleasing to 
him as "an advantageous opportunity of acquiring infor- 
mation and material for literary purposes." Joel Barlow, 
the poet of the Columbiad, was umbraged at the author's 
alleged criticisms; and the poet being the Minister, gave 
his preference to another unaware the author was in- 

To William Irving, 

Washington, Feb. 16, '11. 

I find that it has been the custom to leave the choice 
to the minister himself, in which case I have no chance. 
The Secretary of State was the first person who sug- 

*Paul Hamilton. 
fRobert Brent. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

gested the idea, and he is very solicitous for it; indeed, 
I have experienced great cordiality from him while here. 
The President, on its being mentioned to him, said some 
very handsome things of me, and I made no doubt will 
express a wish in my favor on the subject; more especially 
as Mrs. Madison is a sworn friend of mine, and indeed 
all the ladies of the household and myself great cronies. 
I shall let the thing take its chance. I have made no ap- 
plication, neither shall I make any; and if I go away 
from Washington with nothing but the great good will 
that has been expressed and manifested towards me, I 
shall thank God for all his mercies, and think I have made 
a very advantageous visit. 
To Mr. and Mrs. Joel Barlow : 

Washington, 1811 (April). 

This unexpected opportunity and short notice, my be- 
loved friends, scarce gives me time to embrace you 
round; still I do it with my whole heart. I have re- 
ceived all your most welcome letters — Mr. Barlow's and 
Mr. Lee's, by the Constitution, with one, too, from Mr. 
Warden — all of which I should like to answer now, were 
it not that the despatches go in one hour, and I can only 
return to each individual my love and best thanks for 
their goodness and friendship. Before this, you know of 
our Embargo, — to be followed by War ! ! Yes, that ter- 
rible event is at hand, I fear; our appointments for the 
purpose are mostly made and the recruiting business goes 
on with alacrity. * * * 

Tell Mr. Lee that I shall be ever grateful for the fatigue 
and trouble he must have experienced for my sake, in 
procuring the valuable collection he sent me ; the bill was 
immediately paid, but he will be astonished at the amount 
of duties — two thousand dollars. I fear I shall never 
have money enough to send again. All the articles are 
beautiful ; the heads I could not get on, being a little tight, 
so I shall lay them aside until next winter, when I can 
have them enlarged to fit. The flowers, trimmings, and 
ornaments were enchanting. I wish I could gratify you, 
my dear friend, in the matter of the portraits you so 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

kindly wish of us; but I see little prospect at present of 
accomplishing it. Stuart is far from us, and we have no 
painter of skill in this place; be assured, if an opportunity 
occurs, I will do my best to send you what you wish. 
* * * Do write me continually of your dear selves, 
and what you are doing; you cannot image the impa- 
tience felt when you are silent. 

Your ever affectionate 

Dolly Madison.* 

Courtesy of the Public Library, Boston, Mass. : 
William Lee Esqr 

Consul for Bordeaux 
Now in 
Mail New York 

I have the pleasure to assure you my estimable friend, 
that your dear daughter had recovered her health and 
bloom, previous to her Mama's letter; which I prize too 
highly to indulge you with a sight of, at present, — 

My good nature may perhaps be wrought upon by 
your return to Washington — and I will make use of this 
advantage over you, to bring you back before your de- 
parture for France. Mrs. Lee is so good as to tell me, 
that the ship Ann will bring the articles I sent for — she 
was to sail from Bazonne about the last of Feb'y. — I 
thought last week, that Mr. Barlow would have em- 
barked by the end of this — but some little cause for hesi- 
tation has again occurred & he may not leave us, until 
the provoking Essex shall appear. My sister left me 
three days ago, she charged me with many adieu's for 
you & assurances of regard. I have nothing new, or 
more agreeable to tell you, from the seat of Govt, than 
that we go on, in cheerful tranquility, & 

Tho the mast bows beneath the wind, 

We make no mercenary prayers, 
Nor with the Gods a bargain bind, 
With future vows and streaming tears. 

D P M 

7". May— 11— 

* Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Joel Barlow to Mrs. Madison: 

Our girls will write you about courts, and fashions, 

and finery. * * * My tour of duty is over. I am 
now initiated in the mysteries.* 

Mrs. Barlow to Mrs. Madison : 

Mr. Brooks has given us many little (as well as great) 
anecdotes respecting Washington and our friends there. 
We had an account of the French and English ministers' 
balls, with all the little etcs., the sleighing parties and the 
general gayety which reigned there. * * * I want 
to send you some pretty things in embroidery which are 
the high style here, gold and silver with silk done on mull. 
Mr. Lee has sent you so much of every kind of dress, 
and it is so difficult to send to the port, and then to get 
any one to take charge of valuable things, that I shall 
send nothing. 

Dr. Thornton's sensitiveness gave him a mercurial 
character. His mercury's rise and fall was indexed by 
his letters. He highly valued the Madisons' relation to 
him. By their attention, he was elated and by their ne- 
glect, he was depressed; and their inattention, although 
otherwise, he imagined, intended. 

To President Madison : — 

Washington City 

3d Augt 1811 
Dr Sir 

I lie still so very sick in bed I am obliged to get M r 
Lyon to write a few lines for me, we were exceedingly 
obliged by the kind attention of your amiable Lady and 
self, at the time of your departure and if your good 
wishes could have reinstated me I should not be now 
lieing in the low situation I am in. 

*Life and Letters of Joel Barlow, LL.D. Charles Burr Todd. 











Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The next is undated. 

Monday Morning 

To prevent any suspicion of a deficiency in respect to 
you and your Lady — whom we have never ceased to more 
than respect & esteem — I am unwilling to permit you to 
depart without expressing our sincere regret that when 
your Departure was made known to all our Friends by 
her farewell visit to them, and they were thereby enabled 
to pay their parting respects, we remained ignorant 
thereof, and were consequently precluded from joining 
in so affectionate a visit. Had it been merely accident, 
we should not in apologizing for an apparent want of at- 
tention have had to mingle with our regrets any of those 
feelings which afflict while they affect: — but I have long 
had to lament a marked distance and coldnefs towards 
me for which I cannot account, and am the more affected 
by it, because we once enjoyed the happinefs of being 
considered as among your Friends. It would have been 
kind to have mentioned any cause of dissatisfaction rather 
wound us by exhibiting to the world our misfortune in 
the loss of your friendship & esteem. — 

Farewell, & may the Almighty bless you & yours. — 

William Thornton. 

President of the United States. 

My own beloved Phebe — Your letters have been 
rec d & prized beyond expression, & yet appear- 
ances contradict the assertion — During my stay in Virg a 
I had not one solatary day for wrighting, & could onty 
send a few hurried lines to my sisters. — You will then 
pardon my delinquency sweet daughter & recollect a 
crowded house distracts the attention and occations ne- 
glect when the heart is not in fault — 

We returned to this place 3 days ago, & you will 
readily immagin my occupation curtesying kissing &c 
&c our numerous acquaintances flock around us. — But 
I am impatient to enquire whether you will not visit me 
this winter? Tell dear Papa to remember & to perform 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

his promis — that my Husband & myself will receive 
you with open arms. — Tell my own dear Betsy that she 
owes me a letter & that Mr Waddell & herself must 
come with you — / am in earnest — Phebe, & sincerely 
wish you to come. 

The story of Mr M having been hurt was entirely 

without foundation as are many other silly reports. He 
thanks you for your kind concern & sends you a kifs 
for it— 

I will avail myself of your offer to chuse me a facinat- 
ing Head-drefs — I enclose you 20$ — my darling & you 
will add to the Bonit or Turbin some artificial Flower 

or fruit for the Head — I expect my sister W in a 

day or two when I will write you again & more fully 
— In great haste my dear girl — but ever affectionately 

Yours friend 

D P M.— 

6 Octor II, — 

Anthony St. John Baker, an English diplomatist, in 
his only edition of three books, has this : 

Three days after our arrival at Washington (from the 
North), October 23d, 1811, the races took place. I at- 
tended them, Mr. Foster driving me in his curricle. He 
had the best equipage on the ground. His horses are very 
fine ones, and his grooms sported their best liveries. Mrs. 
Madison was present, with four grays in a chariot, and 
Mrs. Tayloe in a coach and four, which were the only 
equipages deserving notice, Madame Jerome's (the wife 
of the King of Westphalia) being very modest, with a 
pair of horses. Serurier, the French Minister, was there 
on foot, followed by a servant. 

It already appears that Mrs. Madison believed that 
a bird, to be beautiful, must have bright plumage. 
And that she gave Mr. and Mrs. Joel Barlow the 
commission will not surprise. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Washington, November 15, 1811. 

Ever Dear and Valued Friends, — Your notes giving 
us an account of your progress on the water were grate- 
ful, indeed, but the news of your safe arrival in France 
infinitely more so. Many, many are the questions that 
rise to my lips. How did you bear the voyage ? How is 
dear Clara, Mr. Barlow, et cetera ? I hope soon to know 
these things, which I confess interest me more than the 
success of your mission, of which few have a doubt. 
Even the enemies of our Minister admit his talents and 
virtue; how then can any one doubt? We passed two 
months on our mountain in health and peace, returning 
the first of October to a sick and afflicted city. The un- 
finished canal caused a bilious fever to prevail through all 
its streets; many died, and Congress convened in dread 
of contagion. Happily all fear is now over, and public 
business engrosses them very thoroughly. * * * 

The French Minister, Mr. Serurier, is still delighted 
with Kalorama, and takes much pleasure in beautifying 
the grounds. Mrs. Baldwin was well and cheerful when 
I saw her some days since; she no doubt is writing vol- 
umes, and keeps you posted as to the health of your little 
dog. * * * We have new members in abundance, 
with their wives and daughters ; and I have never felt the 
entertainment of company oppressive until now. How I 
wish I were in France with you for a little relaxation. 
As for you, my dear friends, have everything and we 
nothing that is beautiful. I will ask the favor of you to 
send me by a safe vessel large head-dresses, a few flow- 
ers, feathers, gloves, and stockings, black and white, with 
anything else pretty and suitable for an economist, and 
let me know the amount.* * * * 

The bale of beauty came and the bill for duty was 
two thousand dollars, and Mrs. Madison again thought 
of economy. 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Washington, December 20, 1811. 

My Dearest Anna: — I received with joy your letter 
last evening, which, being longer than usual, raised my 
spirits, which have been rather low in these troublous 
times. No Constitution heard of yet; the Hornet went 
to take despatches and to let them know our determination 
to fight for our rights. I wrote by the Hornet to Mrs. 
Barlow, and begged her to send me anything she thought 
suitable in the way of millinery. I fear I cannot obtain a 
new-fashioned pattern for you, but will make a cap such 
as is much worn. The intrigues for President and Vice- 
President go on, but I think it may terminate as the last 
did. The Clintons, Smiths, Armstrongs, et cetera, are all 
in the field, and I believe there will be war. Mr. Madison 
sees no end to the perplexities without it, and they seem 
to be going on with the preparations. General Dearborn, 
you know, is nominated to command. Congress talks of 
adjourning for two months, but I believe it is merely a 
threatening, and they will sit until June. Before then I 
trust you will be able to come on, as the roads become 
passable by April. 

Devotedly your sister, 

Dolly Madison.* 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 



SS PHOEBE MORRIS and her mother came 
as the guests of Mrs. Madison in 1812. Miss 
Phoebe to her sister, Rebecca, in Philadel- 
phia, writes: 

The President and Mrs. Madison expected me before 
the first of January, and were extremely sorry that we 
did not arrive by that time, as it was a great day there. 
The House was crowded with company from top to bot- 
tom, the chambers and every room was occupied with 
Ladies and Gentlemen and all descriptions of persons. 
I have a dear little room, with an alcove Bed which ad- 
joins Mrs. Washington's. The chamber I occupied last 
year was too large and too cold for me, Mrs. Madison 
said, but she gave it to Brother.* He seems very well 
contented and went with me yesterday to see Mrs. Gal- 
latin. Today he has set off with Mr. Payne on horse- 
back to ride over the city and visit the Patent Office. 
Yesterday we had a crowd of morning visitors, Miss 
Caton, Mrs. Van Ness, the Miss Washingtons and a num- 
ber of others whose names I cannot recollect. Maria 
Ringgold is here, but I have not seen her, she is in deep 
mourning and scarcely goes out at all.f 

Miss Phoebe had as yet failed to see the captivating 
Madame Bonaparte because that beauty had had an attack 
of rheumatism, due to an imprudent exposure of her 

*James Pemberton Morris. 

^Social Life in the Early Republic. Anne Hollingsworth 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

beautiful shoulders. By February 17, 1812, Miss Phoebe 
could rhapsodize : 

How I wish you could see Madame Bonaparte in all 
the splendor of dress, and all the attractions of beauty. 
I think I never beheld a human form so faultless. To 
the utmost symmetry of features is added so much vi- 
vacity, such captivating sweetness ! and her sylphic form 
"thinly veiled" displays all the graces of a Venus de Medi- 
cis. She appears particularly lovely in a fine crepe robe 
of a beautiful azure colour interwoven with silver, in 
this attire she is truly celestial, and it is impossible to 
look on any one else when she is present.* 

Mrs. Madison to Anthony Morris: 

You have allways given me credit my dear friend, for 
a lively perception of what was right — Upon the strength 
of which, I will assure you, that your excellent letters to 
our beloved Phebe are such, as I would have my sister 
daughter & friend, follow, to the very letter. I think 
however, that you feel two accutely the trifling observa- 
tions on her indisposition, at M rs Tayloe's ball every body 
in this place understood that she had danced too much 
& tho the incident was unpleasant, I am perfectly con- 
vinced that her uncommon understanding, & sweet tem- 
per are guaranty's for the propriety of her conduct thro' 
life. I have never neglected you in my heart, tho I am 
a delinquent in writing — your plan of sending James to 
Europe I like better than that of going yourself — yet, if 
it is your pleasure, I pray that you may be gratified. 
Phebe says she will never separate from you — It gives 
me pleasure to write the letters for M r Howell — he will 
find friends, in our Minister, & Consul at Paris — Why 
does not James go with him ? When we have the pleasure 
to see you, we will consult on the manner, & possibility 
of finding a situation, worthy your acceptance at this 

*Social Life in the Early Republic. Anne Hollingsworth 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

moment I fear there are few within the gift of M- 

Kifs the dear girls for me & believe us most truly yours 

D P M 
2d March 12 

To Mrs. Anna Cutts : 

Washington, March 20, 1812. 

Before this reaches you, my beloved sister, Lucy will 
be married to Judge Todd, of Kentucky. You are, I 
know, prepared for it, and reconciled to her choice of a 
man of the most estimable character. Their home is 
now to be in Lexington, very near our old friend, General 
Taylor, but as a Supreme Judge he is obliged to come 
here for two months every winter, and binds himself to 
bring her to her friends when she pleases to come. You 
may imagine my grief is not slight at the parting, and 
Lucy too is in deep distress. 

* * * All are busy electioneering yet. 

The Federalists affronted to a man. Not one of the 
two houses of Congress will enter Madison's door since 
the communications of Henry except Livingston, who 
considers himself attached by his appointment. 

Judge Todd was an aggressive suitor. The Widow 
Washington was a resistant citadel. The first attack, or 
call it proposal, met with repulse. Dejectedly, the Judge 
in his carriage departed for his Kentucky home. Of the 
widow's yielding 

"to be a second prey," 
the Judge was apprized by the letter brought him by the 
horseback messenger who overtook him at Lancaster, 
Pennsylvania. The Judge in the carriage came back the 
way he came.* 

Phoebe Morris to Anthony Morris No. 72 S. Second 
St. Phila. 

♦Justice Todd's first wife was Elizabeth Harris of Newtown, Pa. 
The incident is given by George D. Todd, Esq., of Louisville, Ky. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Washington, March 22d 1812 
My dear Papa 

I write in the most delightful yet strange agitation pos- 
sible — M rs Washington is to be married next Sunday to 
Judge Todd & Mifs Hamilton, Mifs Hay & myself are 
to be Bridesmaids & M r Coles M r Payne & Payne Todd 
Groomsmen — We have already shed so many tears on the 
occasion that we now begin to smile as we view the bright 
side of the Picture. The Judge is so estimable & amiable 
a man that every person respects & admires him; he is 
very rich, very handsome. 

Poor M rs Washington has caused a great deal of dis- 
trefs to herself & all of us by this unexpected event they 
go off the next morning to Harewood & proceed from 

thence to the Judge's estate in Kentucky — M rs W 

will write a postscript — M rs Madison says she wishes 
most earnestly that you be here at the marriage. 

Your flattering Eulogium very highly valued friend, 
I shall prize, and recollect, when, / am far away — the 
prospect of separation now before me, from all my heart 
has been accustomed to love deprefses me beyond descrip- 
tion, but, we must yield to fate — I hope your wishes in 
my favor may be availing — and be afsured they are sin- 
cerely reciprocated to you — for the last time perhaps I 

sign the Initials of 

L. W. . . 

National Intelligencer 

Tuesday, March 31, 1812. 

On Sunday evening at the residence of the President 
of the United States by the Rev. Mr. McCormick, 
Thomas Todd, esq. one of the Judges of the Supreme 
Court of the United States, to Mrs. Lucy Washington, 
sister of Mrs. Madison. 

The wedding of the widower Todd and the widow 
Washington is the first in the Executive Mansion.* 

*Appendix F. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The Rev. Andrew T. McCormick and the Rev. Stephen 
Bloomer Balch in making one of two were rivals. The 
couple that the one did not yoke the other did. The Rev. 
Mr. McCormick was of the proud faith, the Episcopalian, 
and the Rev. Mr. Balch, the disciple of predistination and 
the other essentials of Presbyterianism. 

Mr. Madison was weak physically and strong men- 
tally; he was weak in physical courage and strong in 
moral courage. As the man who represented the nation 
he was a manly representative; as a representative ex- 
hibited a strong nation. His representation was the spirit 
of himself. He resorted to no tricks to catch the people's 
favor. He did not act simplicity or preach economy or 
practice any other artifice. He was approachable by the 
most humble. He observed the conventionalities of offi- 
cial etiquette and the dazzlingly decorated diplomat had 
the deference he would have had in any other cultured 
country. In his day, demagogues there were, as there 
always have been. They may have the people's good at 
heart ; they surely have at heart their own. For political 
preservation or preferment, they create and cater to 
clamor. They catch the breeze of the current time and 
sail with it. 

Says Mrs. Madison : 

The Federalists, as I told you, were all affronted with 
Madison — refused to dine with him, or even come to the 
house. But they have changed. Last night and the night 
before, our rooms were crowded with Republicans, and 
such a rallying of our narty has alarmed them into a 

Mr. Madison was pacific. A Federalist's taunt in the 
halls of Congress "he could not be kicked into a fight" 
became a common remark. He hoped the horrors of 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

war would be averted. In May, the Hornet came with 
information that ended hope of favorable change. The 
wrongs by Great Britain continued. Mr. Madison's pa- 
tience ceased. His patriotism changed from peace to 
war. His spirit stirred the national spirit. His deter- 
mination for war became the people's determination. 
However with division for the Federalists were united 
against it and some Republicans acted with them. In 
the whirlpool of discords and doubts, Mrs. Madison said : 
"the world seems to be running mad, what with one thing 
or another." 

March 27, 1812. 

The Vice-President lies dangerously ill,* and election- 
eering for his office goes on beyond description — the 
world seems to be running mad, what with one thing or 
another. The Federalists, as I told you, were all af- 
fronted with Madison — refused to dine with him, or even 
come to the house. But they have changed. Last night 
and the night before, our rooms were crowded with Re- 
publicans, and such a rallying of our party has alarmed 
them into a return. They came in a large body last night 
also, and are continuing calling; even D. B. W. (who is a 
fine fellow) came last night. The old and the young 
turned out together. The war business goes on slowly, 
but I fear it will be sure. Where are your husband's ves- 
sels ? and why does he not get them in ? Congress will be 
here until May, and perhaps longer, f 

Washington, 1812. 

I wrote you that the Embargo would take place three or 
four days before it did, dear Anna.J General Dearborn 

*George Clinton died April 20, 1912. 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

^Congress passed, April 4, 1812, an act laying an embargo for 
ninety days, on all vessels within the jurisdiction of the United 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

will leave in a few days. I went to Mrs. Eustis's last 
Sunday evening with Mr. and Mrs. M. — only two or 
three ladies present. Foster, Serurier, General Dearborn, 
Mr. Brent, and one or two other men, but dull. Mrs. 
Hamilton* and Mrs. Eustisf have had parties — no one 
else. Congress will not adjourn, I believe, though it has 
been much spoken of; the intention is on the decline now, 
from an idea that it will make a bad impression, both in 
and out of our country. So now, my dear sister, it seems 
May will smile on your journey to us; tell me when and 
how you begin it. I received a letter by ship from Mrs. 
Barlow, which I will send you. She says the Hornet will 
sail in a few days, and will bring us a treaty of com- 
merce, et cetera. Every prospect is fair in that quarter.J 

Washington, May 12, 1812. 

My Dear Anna, — John Randolph has been firing away 
at the "House" this morning against the declaration of 
war, but we think it will have little effect. I told you of 
the Hornet and all the news it brought. We have nothing 
among ourselves worth repeating. Lucy writes often and 
is still delighted with Kentucky; our friends in Virginia 
are all well. My dear husband is overpowered with busi- 
ness, but is in good health. We had all the heads of 
departments here yesterday to dinner, with their wives. 

I will write you, dear Anna, every day that I can take 
up my pen, and am already prepared with a room, and 
every sisterly attention for your husband ; he will be here, 
I hope, in time to give his vote for war. However, I may 
be mistaken, and that dreaded epoch may be some dis- 
tance off. 

Payne is in Baltimore yet, and as much admired and 
respected as you could wish. He writes me that Mrs. 
Patterson and Mrs. Bonaparte are very kind to him, and 
he is invited out all the time. We intend to send him 
in a few months to Princeton. Kiss the sweet girls and 

*Paul Hamilton, of South Carolina, Secretary of Navy. 
fWilliam Eustis, of Massachusetts, Secretary of War. 
XMemoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

boys for me, and sleep in peace, my dear sister. Heaven 
will preserve you and yours as you trust in its great power. 

Ever your own 


A bill declaring war against Great Britain was passed 
by the House of Representatives June 4, 1812; by the 
Senate, June 17; concurred by both branches, June 18. 
The President issued a proclamation of war, June 19. 

Sally McKean and the Marchioness de Casa Yrujo is 
or are the same. Sally was the daughter of Thomas Mc- 
Kean, "a signer," a Chief Justice and a Governor of 
the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. She was vivacious 
and her letters likewise were lively. In the book of 
beauty, wherein are beautiful women, beautiful printing 
and beautiful word pictures, which book of beauty is the 
Social Life in the Early Republic, is a reproduction of 
the Marchioness as she was portraited by the gifted Gil- 
bert Stuart. 

Baltimore, June 20, 1812. 

My Dear Mrs. Madison, — I arrived here about ten 
days ago, and had a strong desire to write you the mo- 
ment of my arrival, but the state of affairs suggested to 
me this idea, that it was most prudent to suspend it until 
things took a decisive turn, lest some exalted patriot 
might suspect an innocent correspondence. * * * 

Your son Payne has been twice to see me, but unfortu- 
nately I was out both times; the Marquis saw him, and 
says he is a fine young man, grown so tall and handsome. 
I shall make an effort to find him to-day, and intend to 
ask him if he remembers that when a little fellow he 
pulled off General Van Courtland's wig at the very mo- 
ment he was making me a flourishing compliment. What 
has become of the old beau? * * * 

*Mcmoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

* * * I verily think when I see you and Anna once 
more, there is so much to tell you of what I have seen 
and heard abroad as would keep me talking for three 
days without stopping, and I am morally certain I should 
make you laugh, and your good husband too, for I am 
just as giddy and full of spirits as ever. Indeed, I am 
for the French principle, never to let anything trouble 
me much unless it is absolutely necessary. 

Your sister Lucy is again married, I hear, but am 
sorry she has gone so far off ; rumor says she has been a 
great belle, and is as lovely and amiable as ever. * * * 
In answer to the thousand questions I have asked about 
you, they say that you never looked so well in your life, 
and that you give and have given universal satisfaction 
to all friends and visitors, which is, indeed, a very diffi- 
cult matter, that of pleasing everybody. You, however, 
were always so good, and possessed such an amiable tem- 
per, as to make every one your friend. I have heard 
much in your praise from the American gentlemen who 
have been in Brazil, when, you may be sure, I asked hun- 
dreds of questions about you all. * * * Give my 
love (yes love!) to Mr. Madison, and ask him if he has 
entirely forgotten me, and the dear old times? * * * 
The Marquis desires his best compliments to yourself 
and Mr. Madison. And believe me, my dear Mrs. Madi- 
son, your old and affectionate friend, 

Sally D'Yrujo. 

The Morris letters, Anthony, Phoebe and Rebecca, are 
too numerous for a volume of the size intended. They 
are uniformly well written. In letters of earlier date than 
that which follows Mr. Morris thanks Mrs. Madison for 
the holiday given his daughter, Phoebe, at Washington, 
and refers to Phoebe as "your daughter," as he frequently 
did. He had requested Mrs. Madison to receive a sem- 
inary student, Mademoiselle Victorine du Pont, the 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

daughter of Mr. du Pont, near Wilmington, and a friend 
of Phoebe's.* 

Anthony Morris was a Quaker. He was much like 
Dolly in attributes. Like her, and un-Quakerlike, he liked 
war and dress. He wore no broad-brim, or sombre 
suits, or said thee or thou. He came to the verge of being 
read out of church because "he had the world's manners" 
and signed as Speaker of the Senate a warlike measure 
— to provide troops to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion. 

He was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. 
He was a lawyer and a merchant. He was a legislator 
and represented his native Philadelphia. He is recol- 
lected : 

The Senate of Pennsylvania held their deliberations, 
in an upper chamber of the State House, Anthony Morris, 
Speaker, in the Chair, facing the north. His* personal 
appearance from the chair, was that of an amiable, con- 
templative, placid-looking gentleman, dressed fashionably 

*From Senator du Pont: 



24th October, 1912. 

Allen C. Clark, Esq., 

My dear sir : 

In reply to your letter of the 14th instant, which was only re- 
ceived on my return from Europe a few days ago, I will say that 
the person to whom you refer was my aunt, Victorine Elizabeth 
du Pont, born in Paris August 30th, 1792, died January 19th, 1861, 
in Christiana Hundred near Wilmington, Delaware. She married 
late in 1813 Ferdinand Bauduy. who died of pneumonia a few 
months after the marriage. She never married again. 

She was at Madame Rivardi's school near Philadelphia for a 
number of years, but I do not think that she was a school girl 
in 1812. 

If I can give you any further information about her or her 
friends, please let me know. 

Yours very truly, 

H. A. du Pont. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

plain, in a suit of mixed or drab cloth ; fair complexion, 
and light flaxen hair, slightly powdered, his imperturbable 
serenity of countenance, seemingly illuminated by a bril- 
liant pair of silver mounted spectacles. 

Besides his city, he had a country place, "The High- 
lands," situated on the Skippack Road in Montgomery 
county; and another, the Bolton farm in Berks county. 
He was born February 10, 1766; married in 1790; and 
from 1808 was a widower.* 

Mrs. Madison liked Mr. Morris; she loved Phoebe. 
Her affection had a test — to exert her influence for Mr. 
Morris. He went to live on the Bolton farm ; but neither 
the city air nor the country air of the Commonwealth was 
helpful to his health; he needed a more decided change. 
He concluded that a foreign mission would be the real 

Mr. Morris made undoubtedly a skillful diplomatist 
for he was diplomatic. To the letter, next quoted, is a 
long postscript, in which he tells of the numerous impor- 
tunities for introductory letters which he declines while 
he denies the reported relationship but that he could not 
decline the request of his estimable friend, Samuel Mif- 
flin, and reminds it was only politeness, for Mr. Mifflin 
seeks the place which he seeks. 

Bolton Farm, July 20, 1812. 
My hon d Friend 

I have by this mail written to the President relative 
to an appointment, which involves in its consequences 
(should they at any time be such as I wish) so much 
of the fate of our darling Phoebe, that I should from 
this consideration only be inexcusable in not mentioning 
it to you; while I anticipate the probability that from 
various causes my views may not now be attainable, I 

*The Morris Family of Philadelphia. Robert C. Moon, M.D. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

indulge the belief that neither the personal wishes of the 
President or yourself will be among the number; I shall 
therefore easily reconcile myself to a disappointment, 
which will come with healing on its Wings ; 

I yet feel most sensibly and almost constantly my 
honor d friend, the necefsity of a total change of scene 
to my health, my feelings, and my Interests. I wish to 
try a new heaven, and a new earth, thro every clime, I 
should carry with me, the recollection of those Friends, 
which have been ever my most endearing consolations, 
from the enchanting days of Youth & Joy, to the ma- 
turity of meredian life, Hope would still flatter me with 
a return to them, and to my native land regenerated, and 
restored to feelings, without which, Life, is only a duty 
to be endured; while mine lasts, among its principal 
pleasures, will be the remembrance of your early and un- 
interrupted friendship; the terms of your last grateful 
evidence of flattering attention, in the sanction of Mifs 
Dupont's introduction, I shall ever cherish with particu- 
lar pride and pleasure; the Sensations which both these 
sources of gratification confer, I shall always experience 
with those of the purest Esteem & Gratitude, while I 
am permitted to subscribe myself 

Y r truly sincere & faithful Friend 

A. Morris 

Francis Jeffrey, of the Edinburgh Review, who visited 
the city of Washington in 1812 said, "Mr. Madison re- 
minded me of a schoolmaster dressed up for a funeral." 
This jocular detraction is related by Benjamin Ogle Tay- 
loe in his reminiscences ; he is moved to resentment. Mr. 
Madison was too large of mind to have minded the jest. 
Although himself the subject, his merriment, in the out- 
let, would have been, at least, a smile. Mr. Jeffrey be- 
came a Lord, an English Lord, and aspired for an Amer- 
ican wife and he achieved his aspiration.* 

*Charlotte Wilkes, of New York, grandniece of the English 
politician, John Wilkes. 










Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Tom Moore ridiculed America; Mr. Jeffrey ridiculed 
America. Lord Jeffrey ridiculed Tom Moore; Tom 
Moore proposed a dual. Jeffrey and Moore went to 
Chalk Farm near London to shoot with powder in their 
pistols and nothing else and both made themselves ri- 
diculous. (1806.) 

With Mrs. Madison the cares of the human race 
slipped by in the sight of flying horses. 

Mrs. Seaton's diary:* 

October, 1812. 

Yesterday was a day of all days in Washington — 
hundreds of strangers from Maryland and Virginia in 
their grand equipages, to see a race ! Gov. Wright with 
his horses to run, Col. Holmes with his, and people of 
every condition straining at full speed. Mr. and Mrs. 
Madison, the departments of government, all, all for the 

race! Major L , who is hand and glove with every 

grandee, and perfectly in his element, called for William, 
while I accompanied Dr. and Mrs. Blake, and old Gov- 
ernor Wright of Maryland, in their handsome carriage 
to the field. It was an exhilarating spectacle, even if one 
took no interest in the main event of the day; and such 
an assemblage of stylish equipages I never before wit- 

From Mrs. Seaton's diary is culled her first drawing- 
room experience : 

November 12, 1812. 

* * * On Tuesday, William and I repaired to the 
palace between four and five o'clock, our carriage set- 
ting us down after the first comers, and before the last. 
It is customary, on whatever occasion, to advance to the 
upper end of the room, pay your obeisance to Mrs. Madi- 

* William Winston Seat on of the National Intelligencer. A Bio- 
graphical Sketch. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

son, courtesy to his Highness, and take a seat ; after this 
ceremony being at liberty to speak to acquaintances, or 
amuse yourself as at another party. The party already 
assembled consisted of the Treasurer of the United 
States; Mr. Russell, the American Minister to England; 
Mr. Cutts, brother-in-law to Mrs. Madison; Gen. Van 
Ness and family; Gen. Smith and daughter from New 
York; Patrick Magruder's family;* Col. Goodwyn and 
daughter; Mr. Coles, the Private Secretary; Washington 
Irving, the author of Knickerbocker and Salmagundi; 
Mr. Thomas, an European; a young Russian, Mr. Poin- 
dexter, William R. King and two other gentlemen; and 
these, with Mr. and Mrs. Madison, and Payne Todd, their 
son, completed the selected company. 

Mrs. Madison very handsomely came to me and led 
me nearest the fire, introduced Mrs. Magruder, and sat 
down between us, politely conversing on familiar sub- 
jects, and by her own ease of manner, making her guests 
feel at home. Mr. King came to our side sons ccremonie, 
and gayly chatted with us until dinner was announced. 
Mrs. Magruder, by priority of age, was entitled to the 
right hand of her Hostess; and I, in virtue of being a 
stranger, to the next seat. Mr. Russell to her left, Mr. 
Coles at the foot of the table, the President in the mid- 
dle, which relieves him from the trouble of serving guests, 
drinking wine, etc. The dinner was certainly very fine; 
but still I was rather surprised, as it did not surpass some 
I have eaten in Carolina. There were many French 
dishes, and exquisite wines, I presume, by the praises be- 
stowed on them; but I have been so little accustomed to 
drink, that I could not discern the difference between 
Sherry and rare old Burgundy Madeira. Comment on 
the quality of the wine seems to form the chief topic after 
the removal of the cloth, and during the dessert, at which 
by the way, no pastry is countenanced. Ice-creams, mac- 
caroons, preserves and various cakes are placed on the 
table, which are removed for almonds, raisins, pecan- 

librarian of Congress and Clerk of the House of Repre- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

nuts, apples, pears, etc. Candles were introduced before 
the ladies left the table; and the gentlemen continued half 
an hour longer to drink a social glass. Meantime Mrs. 
Madison insisted on my playing on her elegant grand 
piano a waltz for Miss Smith and Miss Magruder to 
dance, the figure of which she instructed them in. By 
this time the gentlemen came in, and we adjourned to the 
tea-room, and here in the most delightful manner imagin- 
able I shared with Miss Smith, who is remarkably intelli- 
gent, the pleasure of Mrs. Madison's conversation on 
books, men and manners, literature in general, and many 
special branches of knowledge. I never spent a more 
rational or pleasing half hour than that which preceded 
our return home. On paying our compliments at parting, 
we were politely and particularly invited to attend the 
levee the next evening. * * * I would describe the 
dignified appearance of Mrs. Madison, but I could not 
do her justice. Tis not her form, 'tis not her face, it is 
the woman altogether, whom I should wish you to see. 
She wears a crimson cap that almost hides her forehead, 
but which becomes her extremely, and reminds one of a 
crown from its brilliant appearance, contrasted with the 
white satin folds and her jet black curls; but her de*- 
meanor is so far removed from the hauteur generally at- 
tendant on royalty, that your fancy can carry the re- 
semblance no further than the headdress. * * * In 
a conspicuous position every fault is rendered more dis- 
cernible to common eyes, and more liable to censure; 
and the same rule certainly enables every virtue to shine 
with more brilliancy than when confined to an inferior 
station in society; but I, and I am by no means singular 
in the opinion, believe that Mrs. Madison's conduct would 
be graced by propriety were she placed in the most ad- 
verse circumstances of life. 

Mr. Preston has in his journal his first visit to the 
Madisons. He was eighteen and the year 1812. 

I and my conductor proceeded in the hack in utter 
silence. The appearance of the house and grounds was 
very grand. There was a multitude of carriages at the 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

door ; many persons were going in and coming out ; espe- 
cially many in gaudy regimentals. Upon entering a 
room where there were fifteen or twenty persons, Mr. 
Madison turned toward us, and the General said, present- 
ing me, "My young kinsman, Mr. Preston, who has come 
to present his respects to you and Mrs. Madison." The 
President was a little man with powdered head, having 
an abstracted air and a pale countenance, with but little 
flow of courtesy. Around the room was a blaze of mili- 
tary men and naval officers in brilliant uniforms. The 
furniture of the room, with the brilliant mirrors, was 
very magnificent. While we stood, Mrs. Madison entered 
— a tall, portly, elegant lady, with a turban on her head 
and a book in her hand. She advanced straight to me, 
and, extending her left hand, said: "Are you William 
Campbell Preston, the son of my old friend and most 
beloved kinswoman, Sally Campbell?" I assented. She 
said : "Sit down, my son ; for you are my son, and I am 
the first person who ever saw you in this world. Mr. 
Madison, this is the son of Mrs. Preston who was born 
in Philadelphia." The President shook hands with me 
cordially. "General Wilkinson," said Mrs. Madison, ad- 
dressing a gentleman who seemed to have been dipped 
in Pactolus, "I must present this young gentleman to our 
distinguished men — Captain Decatur, Mr. Cheves; and 
yet, after all, you would as soon be presented to the 
young ladies," turning to three who entered at this mo- 
ment, "Miss Maria Mayo, Miss Worthington and your 
kinswoman, Miss Sally Coles. Now, young ladies, this 
young gentleman, if not my son, is my protege, and I 
commend him to your special consideration. With you, 
he shall be my guest at the White House as long as he 
remains in the city. I am his mother's kinswoman, and 
stand towards him in the relation of a parent." All this 
was performed with an easy grace and benignity which 
no woman in the world could have exceeded. My awk- 
wardness and terror suddenly subsided into a romantic 
admiration for the magnificent woman before me. 

Thus suddenly and strangely domesticated in the Pres- 
ident's house, I found myself translated into a new and 


















Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

fairy sort of existence. Edward Coles was private secre- 
tary to the President, a relation, a thorough gentleman, 
and one of the best-natured and most kindly-affectioned 
men it has ever been my fortune to know. He was an in- 
mate of the house, as were Miss Mayo, afterwards Mrs. 
General Scott, and Miss Coles, afterwards Mrs. Andrew 
Stevenson. These ladies were experienced belles, used 
to reigning over a multitude of willing subjects. They 
soon turned me to account; made me useful as an at- 
tendant; were entertained by my freshness — perhaps 
amused at my greenness. I rode with them, danced with 
them, waited on them, and in a short time they created 
or developed in me a talent for thread paper verses, on 
which they levied contributions. When I met Mrs. Scott 
in New York, she gracefully, and even touchingly, alluded 
to one of these half-extempores, which, with the tact 
that made her so admired, she had remembered for thirty 

His (Madison) labors were incessant; his countenance 
was pallid and hard ; his social intercourse was entirely 
committed to Mrs. Madison, and was arranged with in- 
finite tact and elegance. He appeared in society daily, 
with an unmoved and abstracted air, not relaxing, except 
towards the end of a protracted dinner, with confidential 
friends. Then he became anecdotal, facetious, a little 
broad occasionally in his discourse, after the manner of 
the old school. His most confidential companion was 
a Mr. Cutts, a kinsman of his wife, whom General Jack- 
son afterwards removed from office. This gentleman 
habitually recounted to the President, over a glass of 
wine, the news, gossip and on dits of the day. Mr. Madi- 
son listened with interest to his details, frequently inter- 
posing questions in a dry, keen way, and, as it seemed 
to me, directing his inquiries more to personal matters 
than to things of real importance. He showed more 
interest in hearing about General Marshall, as he called 
the Chief Justice, than in regard to any one else, fre- 
quently asking, "What does General Marshall say about 
such and such matters?" For the diplomatic corps (I 
forget who they were) he habitually, and somewhat os- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

tentatiously, expressed the most thorough contempt. Mrs. 
Madison told me the necessities of society made sad in- 
roads upon his time, and that she was wearied of it to 
exhaustion. As she always entered the drawing-room 
with a volume in her hand, I said : "Still you have time to 
read." "Oh, no," said she, "not a word; I have this book 
in my hand — a very fine copy of Don Quixote — to have 
something not ungraceful to say, and, if need be, to sup- 
ply a word of talk." She was always prompt in making 
her appearance in the drawing-room, and when out of it 
was very assiduous with household offices. She told 
me that Mr. Madison slept very little, going to bed late 
and getting up frequently during the night to write or 
read; for which purpose a candle was always kept burn- 
ing in the chamber. When not in company, he habitually 
addressed Mrs. Madison by the familiar epithet of 
"Dolly," under the influence of which the lady, and on no 
other occasion, relaxed the deliberate and somewhat 
stately demeanor which always characterized her. I was a 
gay young man, favorably received and considered in con- 
sequence of being in the White House and a pet of Mrs. 
Madison's, she being universally beloved and admired. 

Lucia Beverly Cutts is the authority for the episode 
that a visiting red man, painted and feathered, wandered 
into Mrs. Madison's chamber; that she on entering saw 
him in the mirror ; that she walked unconcernedly into an 
adjoining room; that she summoned a negro domestic 
and then re-entered her room. Mrs. Madison and the 
domestic gently persuaded the astonished aborigine he 
was in the wrong place. 

The addition of date and detail is in Mrs. Thornton's 
diary : 

1812. August 17. Indians dined at the president's. 

22. We were preparing to go to the 
farm* when Mrs. Madison sent to invite us to see the 

*Four miles beyond Georgetown on the Fredericktown road. 
At or in vicinity of Chevy Chase. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Indian Talk — there were 40 of different tribes several of 
whom made speeches after the president had done — The 
presents were afterwards given lasted six hours — 

August 26. Set off after dinner to go to George T n 
saw an assemblage at the president's and stopped— saw 
the Indians dance a little & then returned home. 

Mrs. E. F. Ellet has this incident : 

At one of her receptions, a tall, dangling youth, fresh 
from the backwoods, made his appearance, and took his 
stand against a partition wall. He stood in that position 
like a fixture for half an hour, and finally ventured to 
take a cup of coffee, which it was then the custom to hand 
around. Mrs. Madison's keen eye had noticed his em- 
barrassment, and she wished to relieve it. She walked 
up and addressed him. The poor youth, astonished, 
dropped the saucer on the floor, and unconsciously thrust 
the cup into his breeches pocket. "The crowd is so great" 
— remarked the gentle lady — "that no one can avoid being 
jostled. The servant will bring you another cup of cof- 
fee. Pray, how did you leave your excellent mother? 
I had once the honor of knowing her but I have not seen 
her for some years?" Thus she continued, till the poor 
youth felt as if he were in the company of an old ac- 
quaintance. He took care, secretly and soon, to dislodge 
the protuberance in his pocket.* 

It is a charming story of Dolly Madison and an old 
Quaker friend of hers who was dining at the President's 
house. She appeared in a handsome evening gown that 
showed her fair shoulders, and raising her wine glass to 
her lips, bowed to her guest saying gaily: "Here's to thy 
absent broadbrim Friend Hallowell," to which came the 
quick retort, with a stately bow, "And here's to thy 
absent kerchief, Friend Dorothy." 

*The Court Circles of the Republic. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The anecdotes of Dolly Madison may be apocryphal 
and the reminiscences be romance yet both are legiti- 
mately a part of her after-life written biography. Time 
has given a seal of authenticity. Their accuracy, that 
is exactness to the details of truth, may be doubted for 
besides the weakness of memory is the inclination to color 
with shades more fancy or more strong, in other words, 
to exaggerate. As anecdotes and reminiscences of her, 
her written life to be anywise complete must take cog- 
nizance of them. So often repeated have some of them 
been that the thought of her brings the thought of them. 
Whether true, partially true or not true at all, like par- 
ables which have their correlative moral, the stories of 
Dolly Madison emphasize her charming characteristics. 

Before the close of the year 1811 Mrs. Madison pre- 
dicted war. President Madison, June 1, 1812, in a con- 
fidential message recited the causes of complaint against 
Great Britain and declared it the duty of Congress to 
decide, by constitutional authority, whether should be 
longer endured the wrongs without resistance and retalia- 
tion. In August, General William Hull surrendered De- 
troit without defense while Captain Isaac Hall scored 
a signal victory with the frigate Constitution over the 
British frigate, Guerriere. This success and the succes- 
sive naval conquests gave the British boast of driving the 
"bits of striped bunting" from the ocean, a sinking of 

John Jacob Astor at the date of the letter was forty- 
nine years of age. His visits to Washington were in con- 
nection with his investments in securities of the general 
government. It is tradition, his pleasant relationship 
with the Madisons. It is passed down that he made for 
the Madisons a purchase of a dinner set and failed to send 
a bill for it. Mr. Astor and Richard Forrest were guests 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of the President, and the set was so decorately effective 
that Mr. Forrest was surprised into an exclamation. This 
so pleased Mr. Astor that he imported a similar set for 
Mr. Forrest. Pieces of the open-work china are prized 
possessions of Mrs. Henry, a granddaughter. Mr. 
Astor sold furs, pianos and almost anything that is now 
sold in a modern mammoth department store. 

M r Astor presents his best respects to M rs Madison 
and begs Leave to afsure her that he had not for gotten 
the box of Tea which he had promised to send the Delay 
arose from a desire of sending the very best which he 
might receive and he there for waited for a second arrival 
from Canton and to make sure that M rs Madison should 
have the best he send a small box of each Cargo the En- 
terprize & the Hannibal the former he send by Land 
to the care of M r Forest & the later by watter in the Sloop 
Astria which he hopes will have safe arrivel — he has 
taking the Liberty to add two Boxes of superior sweet 
oile & two small Boxes contain'g Maderia wine the Later 
he Requests M rs Madison will have the goodnefs to pre- 
sent to M r Madison as wine which has been at the River 
Columbia on the northwest coast of this continent & 
which is perhaps of the onley wine in this country which 
has ben In that river — M r Astor Recollects with great 
pleasure all the good wishes which M rs Madison ex- 
prefsed for him when he was Last at Washington — and 
he has not forgotten The bargain made at that time — he 
well remembers M™ Madison's Afsurances that all M r 
Astors ships should arrive and he is happy to say that two 
have arrived from Canton with valuable Cargoes two are 
yet out both to China should they arrive agreeable to M r s 
Madisons goodwishes one of them shall be transferred 
to M rs Madison and it shall be the best of them. 

New York 29 Nov 1812 

December 8, 1812. The National Intelligencer issued 
an extra. The city was illuminated. News had come of 
a third naval victory. By coincidence a Naval Ball was 
set for that evening. It was in honor of the heroes of 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the sea, Captain Hull, Morris and Stewart. The banquet 
room of Tomlinson's Hotel was decorated with the flags 
of the conquered Alert and the Guerriere. In the gayety, 
unexpectedly, appeared Lieut. Hamilton, bearing the flag 
of the Macedonian, conquered by Captain Decatur. The 
wildest enthusiasm prevailed. "Yankee Doodle" quick- 
ened the already quick pulse of patriotism. Mrs. Madi- 
son was the recipient of the trophy. 

Mr. Barlow died at Zarnowiec near Cracow in Poland, 
December 24, 1812. While on a journey acute inflam- 
mation of the lungs caused his death. 

Miss Clara Baldwin to Mrs. Madison : 

Paris, 16th February, 1813. 

Death has entered our happy family and torn from 
it its head, its support, its all, and left us a prey to sorrow 
and unavailing regret. My poor sister is overwhelmed 
with anguish, and the melancholy task of writing to those 
friends who best knew and loved the dear departed de- 
volves on me; and after our family, you, our much es- 
teemed friend, will most sensibly feel this cruel be- 
reavement. * * * 

This circumstance adds double poignancy to our an- 
guish, especially to my poor sister's : it harrows up her 
soul to think his precious remains lie buried in such a 
distant, savage land, and that in a few months there will 
be an impassable distance between her and them. It 
would be a melancholy consolation to her if they were 
deposited at Kalorama or indeed in any part of the coun- 
try he loved so well, and in whose service he expired. I 
hope his countrymen will do justice to his worth and 
his virtues, and that his memory will live forever.* 

•P T *P 

Mrs. Upton quotes from a letter that part which de- 
scribes the First Lady's costume at the reception on New 
Year's Day, 1813: 

*Life and Letters of Joel Barlow, LL.D. Charles Burr Todd. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison received in a robe of pink satin, 
trimmed elaborately with ermine, gold chains and clasps 
about her waist and wrists, and upon her head a white 
satin and velvet turban with a crescent in front, and 
crowned with nodding ostrich plumes.* 

Mrs. Madison wrote many letters and in not one is 
argument or anger predicated on politics. She says to 
Mr. Madison, November 1, 1805: 

I wish you would indulge me with some information 
respecting the war with Spain, and the disagreement with 
England, which is so generally expected. You know I 
am not much of a politician, but I am extremely anxious 
to hear (as far as you think proper) what is going for- 
ward in the Cabinet. On this subject, I believe you would 
not desire your wife to be the active partisan that our 
neighbor is, Mrs. L., nor will there be the slightest dan- 
ger, while she is conscious of her want of talents, and 
the diffidence in expressing those opinions, already im- 
perfectly understood by me. 

Mrs. Madison's province was that of cementing friends 
and conciliating foes. To this end she contributed 
friendliness, tact, talk and Celtic wit. She had a won- 
derful faculty of remembering faces and facility in re- 
calling facts; and she could tell the addressed something 
of himself thereby assuring him, the addressee, of what 
was already more than suspected — his wide known im- 
portance. It has been said that Mrs. Madison made Mr. 
Madison the second time the President. 

Writes James G. Blaine of her : 

She saved the administration of her husband, held him 
back from the extreme of Jeffersonism and enabled him 

*Our Early Presidents, their Wives and Children. Harriet Tay- 
lor Upton. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

to escape the terrible dilemma of the war of 1812. But 
for her De Witt Clinton would have been chosen Presi- 
dent in 1812. 

This is not provable even if probable. No doubt she 
did make his rocky road to Dublin more travellable. 
In the early administrations, political ambitions made 
personal animosities. Now, politics is a game and the 
politicians in friendly rivalry try their luck with the pub- 
lic like boys on a bank with line, bait and hook to catch 
the nibbling fish. 

Although Mrs. Madison did not become involved in 
the antagonisms and animosities, she was not unmindful 
of what was passing in the political world. The criti- 
cisms of Mr. Madison and of herself, of his and her 
friends must have, at least, annoyed her. She, however, 
had the wisdom or knowledge of human nature, to recog- 
nize that the criticism of Mr. Madison was co-incident 
to his high position and in consequence, of the turbulence 
of the times; that the criticisms were as clouds that pass 
with the storm and only for the time hide the beauties of 
the firmament. She thought deeply and the depth of 
though is evident in her deduction : 

All this is from the people, not from the Cabinet, yet 
you know everything vibrates there. 

The politicians like the pendulum swing to a motive 
power; the power is the people; and the politicians are 
very careful not to move in discord and to their relegation. 

March 4, 1813. The second inaugural address had the 
confidence of a Commander-in-Chief : 

As the war was just in its origin, and necessary and 
noble in its objects, we can reflect with a proud satisfac- 
tion, that, in carrying it on, no principle of justice or 








Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

honor, no usage of civilized nations, no precept of cour- 
tesy or humanity have been infringed. The war has been 
waged on our part with scrupulous regard to all these 
obligations, and in a spirit of liberality which was never 
surpassed. * * * 

Already have the gallant exploits of our naval heroes 
proved to the world our inherent capacity to maintain 
our rights on one element. If the reputation of our arms 
has been thrown under clouds on the other, presaging 
flashes of heroic enterprize assure us that nothing is 
wanting to corresponding triumphs there also, but the 
discipline and habits which are in daily progress. 

Mrs. Seaton says : 

The Chief Magistrate's voice was so low, and the 
audience so very great, that scarcely a word could be dis- 
tinguished. On concluding, the oath of office was ad- 
ministered by the Chief Justice, and the little man was 
accompanied on his return to the palace by the multitude ; 
for every creature that could afford twenty-five cents for 
hack-hire was present. The major part of the respect- 
able citizens offered their congratulations, ate his ice- 
creams and bon-bons, drank his Madeira, made their bow 
and retired, leaving him fatigued beyond measure with 
the incessant bending to which his politeness urged him, 
and in which he never allows himself to be eclipsed, re- 
turning bow for bow, even to those ad infinitum of Ser- 
rurier and other foreigners. 

i s* 

The inaugural ball was at Davis's Hotel* and with the 
dignitaries was "a most lively assemblage of the lovely 
ones of our district." 

The journal entry of Mrs. Seaton has that Mrs. Madi- 
son invited her to the drawing-room of Wednesday — 
which were every Wednesday evening — and "not to de- 
sert the standard altogether." 

♦Pennsylvania Avenue between Sixth and Seventh Streets, north 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The optimism expressed in the inaugural address was 
not the spirit of all ; at least, not of Gouveneur Morris, the 
friend of Clinton, Madison's vanquished opponent, for 
writes he : 

When I read Mr. Madison's message I supposed him 
to be out of his senses, and have since been told that he 
never goes sober to bed. Whether intoxicated by opium 
or wine was not said, but I learned last winter, that pains 
in his teeth had driven him to use the former too freelv. 
The administration can do nothing, if the British Min- 
ister be not crazy too, for these cannot but know how im- 
possible it is for us to prosecute the war. Of course, their 
reply to our overtures is, "We will consider."* 

Because Mrs. Madison had her own way of spelling 
some words and spelled differently than in the spelling 
book she is said to have been deficient in education. Men 
of undoubted erudition and who have their names in- 
scribed on parchments of final degrees have had, like- 
wise, their own orthography. Mrs. Madison particularly 
during the presidency was Mr. Madison's amanuensis. 
And she consistently to her system made were into zvare 
and changed ie into ei. She was not unyieldingly stub- 
born or stubbornly antagonistic and along her time she 
slipped easily concessions from her own to the more 
recognized rule in the collocation of the letters in words. 

Mrs. Madison to Miss Phoebe Morris, 1813. 

You remember the Judges; they have been some time 
amongst us, and are as agreable as ever. They talk of 
you continually, particularly Story — all but Judge Todd 
who has remained with dear Lucy to nurse their young 
daughter of whom they are very proud. It is called 

*Diary and Letters of Gouveneur Morris. Edited by Anne Cary 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Madisonia Dolley. The last name I am determin'd shall 
be left out when they come to me next summer.* 

Edward Coles was at the dates of the next two letters 
the private secretary to the President; he was absent to 
recover health. He became Governor of Illinois. 

Washington, May 12. 1813. 

Your letter caused me great affliction, my dear cousin; 
the continuation of your illness and Payne's reluctance 
at leaving America, left me without fortitude to write, 
until now that a letter has come from my son on ship- 
board, in which he expresses satisfaction at all around 
him. He had seen Mr. Swertchkoff, who assured him 
you would soon be well in spite of yourself. YVe indulge 
this pleasing hope in addition to that of your remaining 
with us. to the last. Xot that I would for the world re- 
tard any plan for your prosperity; but that I natter my- 
self the western country may be given up for something 
more consonant with your happiness, and that of your 
connections, among them there are none who feel a more 
affectionate interest in you than Mr. Madison and my- 
self. I hope you will believe that such is our regard and 
esteem for you that we should consider your leaving us a 
misfortune. Mr. Madison can do very well without a 
secretary until your health is reestablished. The winter 
is not the season for emigration, so that next summer you 
will be better able to make your election — to go or not 
to go. 

And now if I could I would describe to you the fears 
and alarms that circulate around me. For the last week 
all the city and Georgetown (except the Cabinet) have 
expected a visit from the enemy, and were not lacking 
in their expressions of terror and reproach. Yesterday 
an express announced the pause of a frigate at the mouth 

*Social Life in the Early Republic. Anne Hollingsworth 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of the Potomac. The commander sent his boats to ex- 
amine a Swedish ship that lay near, but our informer 
was too frightened to wait for further news. We are 
making considerable efforts for defense. The fort is 
being repaired, and five hundred militia, with perhaps as 
many regulars, are to be stationed on the Green, near the 
Windmill, or rather Major Taylor's. The twenty tents 
already look well in my eyes, who have always been an 
advocate for fighting when assailed, though a Quaker. 
I therefore keep the old Tunisian sabre within reach. 
One of our generals has discovered a plan of the British, 
— it is to land as many chosen rogues as they can about 
fourteen miles below Alexandria, in the night, so that 
they may be on hand to burn the President's house and 
offices. I do not tremble at this, but feel hurt that the 
admiral (of Havre de Grace memory) should send me 
word that he would make his bow at my drawing-room 
very soon. Mrs. Bounaparte and Miss Stevenson re- 
turned to their house four clays ago to secure their ward- 
robe, but I question whether they leave us again, as 
strangers and members are crowding in. Mr. Monroe 
and family dined with us yesterday in a large party given 
to Mr. Jones. Mr. Hay is with them, having come to 
escort Mrs. Monroe to Richmond on a visit of three 
weeks to her two daughters. Cousin Sally is still in South 
Carolina, and Miss Mayo is as gay as ever. Anna has 
not been very well of late, and her children are ill with 
measles, so that I confine myself very much with them. 
Be careful of yourself, dear cousin, and return as soon 
as you can to your anxious friends. 

Dolly Madison.* 

Dear Sir 

* Would a confidential service for a time at 
Cadiz, in an informal character be acceptable to you? 
The service is of an important nature and implies a re- 
spectable though unaccredited c^ in some respects un- 

* Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


By Gilbert Stuart 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

avowed agent. The allowance will be at the rate of up- 
wards of $3,000. * * * 

Accept my friendly respects 

James Madison. 

May 5, 1813. 
A. Morris, Esq 1 ' 

Spain claimed territory, known as West Florida, on 
either side of the Mississippi, ceded by France to the 
United States. The mission related to this. His serv- 
ices are highly praised in the letter of recall, October 
11, 1814, consequent to the appointment of a Minister 
to Spain. 

Written from Philadelphia : 

My dear Friend 

I write to you in sincere anxiety for the health of the 
President, & flatter myself that you will indulge me with 
at least a line to say whether the reports of his illnefs are 
not exaggerated, be afsured my dearest M rs Madison 
of my sympathy and tendernefs for every incident which 
interests you, & particularly for one of this nature in 
which I shall ever feel a peculiar & personal concern. 
The anxiety of your mind must be so great on this sub- 
ject that I only mention at Papa's request the determina- 
tion he has made to leave us all here except Brother that 
he may be at more liberty to avail himself of the first 
opportunity which shall present itself from any port — 
Adieu my dearest 

M rs Madison 

June 24. (1813) P. P. Morris. 

To Edward Coles: 

July 2, 1813. 

I have the happiness to assure you, my dear cousin, 
that Mr. Madison recovers; for the last three weeks his 
fever has been so slight as to permit him to take bark 
every hour and with good effect. It is three weeks now 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

I have nursed him, night and day, — sometimes with 
despair! but now that I see he will get well I feel as if 
I might die myself from fatigue. Adieu! 

Ever yours, 

D. P. Madison.* 

Anne Hollingsworth Wharton says: 

Edward Coles, who had been private secretary of 
Mr. Jefferson, retained his position under his successor 
until he was sent by Mr. Madison as special ambassador 
to Russia. Mr. Coles, one of Mrs. Madison's numerous 
Virginia cousins, was a man of much more than ordinary 
ability and breadth of view. After his return from Rus- 
sia, being conscientiously opposed to slavery, Mr. Coles 
removed to Illinois and there freed the large number of 
slaves that he had inherited from his father, giving each 
head of a family one hundred and sixty acres of land. 
He was afterwards elected governor of Illinois and others 
prevented the pro-slavery faction in that State from 
gaining control. Edward Coles passed the last years of 
his life in Philadelphia, where he helped to found the 
Republican party, f 

The Rev. Mason L. Weems was the rector of Pohick 
Church and General Washington was of the congrega- 
tion. "Parson Weems'' in his itineracy could fiddle, for 
a crowd, relate amusing anecdotes and then sell his wares 
— his books. He could in the drink emporiums mimic the 
over-drinkers and then offer his treatises on intemper- 
ance. All these things give him fame; a fame which 
might fade with the flight of time. But what will not 
fade or rather what cannot be pulled down by those ruth- 
less people who have a cruel gratification in destroying 
the cherished beliefs is a more substantial support for 
his fame; and his fame will last undimmed as that of the 
illustrious Washington. That incident in the boyhood of 
Washington which the Parson only knew and only saved 

* Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 
^Social Life in the Early Republic. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

which proves the reward of truth that withstands the 
temptation to turn from it. The iconoclasts may rage 
yet their rage will avail naught for no one will visit the 
sacred scenes of the boyhood days without openly or 
furtively looking for the roots of a cherry tree and for 
the axe that laid upon them. 

But could not the Parson make a flourish of flattery! 

I beg leave, in this way, to inform M rs Madison that 
I have it very much at heart to reprint a book which I 
firmly believe will do great Good. As I know of no Lady 
who has so large an interest at stake in this Country as 
Mrs. Madison has, nor any who holds so distinguished a 
place in it, I dont know to whom, in equity, I ought so 
properly to look for patronage to my book as to herself. 
It is certainly no adulation, Honor'd Madame to say that 
you are one of the "Favord Few" who to do good need 
but to will it. The elevation of your Rank, together with 
the charm of your benevolent spirit & polish'd manners 
differs d so widely as they are by the Members of the 
National Legislature & the brilliant crowds that attend 
your Levees give you an Influence which no other Lady 
can pretend to especially among the Fair Sex of our 
Country. And this forms another reason why I solicit 
your patronage to this Book; tis a book peculiarly apt to 
please & profit the Ladies. Many of the finest deline- 
ations, of character in it are taken from persons of their 
Sex, the Graces which render them so singularly amiable 
& beneficent are painted in colours uncommonly correct 
& captivating; and to crown all, the style is admirably 
suited to the Sentiments & subjects — at once elegantly 
rounded & musically sweet. 

The book I allude to is "Hunter's Sacred Biography' 
or a delineation of sundry of the most distinguished 
Characters recorded in the Holy Scriptures. Tho' an 
European work it has gone thro' several editions in 
America ; and is spoken of in terms little short of rapture, 
by all who read it. The patronage of this excellent book 
which I solicit of M rs Madison, is a recommendation of 
it. A recommendation of it, Honor d Madam from your 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

pen w d insure it a wide Circulation among your Fair 
Country women; and mingled as it w d be by maternal 
Love, with the milk of a thousand nurseries it wou'd con- 
tribute to raise up myriads of Angelic Characters to adorn 
& blefs the rising Generation. 

Knowing how very dear such a result, w d be to you — 
to you Honord Madam who have been nurtured in the 
bosom of Society remarkable for their Christian Philan- 
thropy, I can not but afsure myself that you will with 
pleasure give me the powerful aid of your Recommenda- 
tion to this highly moralizing work. Hundreds of the 
Clergy are ready to give me their recommendations, but 
as it is' chiefly on the Ladies that I count for the Circu- 
lation of it, I had rather have a few lines from M rs Madi- 
son than from a whole Bench of Bishops. You will 
please observe that Doctor Blair was much indebted for 
the wide circulation of his Sermons, to Queen Charlotte. 
As you may not have seen 
this Book, I send you a borrow d 
Volume; at the 68th page of which, 
part the 2 d , you will find the commencement of the Biog- 
raphy of Ruth from which I flatter myself you will find 
sufficient matter to elicit the Approbation I request, and 
which I believe all important to its wide Succefs. 

I pray you accept my heartiest Congratulations for 
the returning Health of His Excellency — to whom I here- 
with send a Vol of "Doct r Hunter." If in the lucid inter- 
vals of Public Care, his Excellency shou'd honor this 
Vol. with a coup d'oeil, he will perhaps discover in it 
the marks of a Genius & Spirit which I think will please 
him. With sentiments of the highest Respect, I remain, 
Honor d Madam, 

Your very humb. Servt 

M. L. Weems. 
Dumfries, July 22, 1813 




N HER life's story, Mrs. Seaton gives this day's part 

January 2, 1814. 

* * * Yesterday being New Year's day, everybody, 
affected or disaffected towards the government, attended 
to pay Mrs. Madison the compliments of the season. Be- 
tween one and two o'clock we drove to the President's, 
where it was with much difficulty we made good our en- 
trance, though all of our acquaintances endeavored with 
the utmost civility to compress themselves as small as 
they could for our accommodation. The marine band, 
stationed in the ante-room, continued playing in spite of 
the crowds pressing on their very heads. But if our pity 
was excited for these hapless musicians, what must we 
not have experienced for some members of our own sex; 
who, not foreseeing the excessive heat of the apartments, 
had more reason to apprehend the efforts of nature to 
relieve herself from the effects of the confined at- 
mosphere. You perhaps will not understand that I al- 
lude to the rouge which some of our fashionables had 
unfortunately laid on with an unsparing hand, and which 
assimilating with the pearl-powder, dust and perspiration, 
made them altogether unlovely to soul and to eye. 

Her majesty's appearance was truly regal, — dressed in 
a robe of pink satin, trimmed elaborately with ermine, a 
white velvet and satin turban, with nodding ostrich 
plumes and a crescent in front, gold chain and clasps 
around the waist and wrists. 'Tis here the woman who 
adorns the dress, and not the dress that beautifies the 
woman. I cannot conceive a female better calculated to 
dignify the station which she occupies in society than 
Mrs. Madison, — amiable in private life and affable in 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

public, she is admired and esteemed by the rich and be- 
loved by the poor. You are aware that she snuffs; but 
in her hands the snuff-box seems only a gracious imple- 
ment with which to charm. Her frank cordiality to all 
guests is in contrast to the manner of the President, who 
is very formal, reserved and precise, yet not wanting in 
a certain dignity. Being so low of stature, he was in 
imminent danger of being confounded with the plebeian 
crowd; and was pushed and jostled about like a common 
citizen, — but not so with her ladyship ! The towering 
feathers and excessive throng distinctly pointed her sta- 
tion wherever she moved. 

After partaking of some ice-creams and a glass of Ma- 
deira, shaking hands with the President and tendering 
our good wishes, we were preparing to leave the rooms, 
when our attention was attracted through the window 
towards what we conceived to be a rolling ball of bur- 
nished gold, carried with swiftness through the air by two 
gilt wings. Our anxiety increased the nearer it ap- 
proached, until it actually stopped before the door; and 
from it alighted, weighted with gold lace, the French 
Minister and suite. We now also perceived that what 
we had supposed to be wings, were nothing more than 
gorgeous footmen with chapeaux bras, gilt braided skirts 
and splendid swords. Nothing ever was witnessed in 
Washington so brilliant and dazzling, — a meridian sun 
blazing full on this carriage filled with diamonds and 
glittering orders, and gilt to the edge of the wheels, — 
you may well imagine how the natives stared and rubbed 
their eyes to be convinced 't was no fairy dream. 

A social custom that prevailed in Mrs. Madison's 
regime, likewise an example of vanity, appears in Mrs. 
Smith's letter of March 14, 1814:* 

The debates in congress have this winter been very 
attractive to the ladies. Mr. Ingersol is among the num- 
ber of orators most admired. But Mr. Pincknevt carries 

*Forty Years of Washington Society. 
fWilliam Pinkney of Maryland. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the palm from all the congressional orators, Forsythe ex- 
cepted. His resignation of his office seems to have added 
to his popularity, and animated him in his professional 
pursuits. Never have his talents been displayed with 
such power and brilliancy. Curiosity led me against my 
judgment, to join the female crowd who throng the court 
rooms.* A place in which I think women have no busi- 
ness. The effect of female admiration and attention has 
been very obvious, but it is a doubt to me whether it has 
been beneficial, indeed I believe otherwise. A member 
told me he doubted not there had been much more speak- 
ing on this account, and another gentleman told me, that 
one day Mr. Pinckney had finished his argument and 
was just about seating himself when Mrs. Madison and a 
train of ladies enter'd, — he recommenced, went over the 
same ground, using fewer arguments, but scattering more 

Payne Todd accompanied the Peace Commission. It 
consisted of John Quincy Adams, James A. Bayard, 
Henry Clay, Jonathan Russell and Albert Gallatin. 

From Mrs. Gallatin to Mrs. Madison: 

New York, July 2, 1814. 

I understand, my dear friend, that you did not receive 
any letter from Payne by the last arrivals. I will com- 
municate to you with pleasure what Mr. Gallatin says 
of him. He says Todd and Millegan left St. Petersburg 
before them, and took the Sweden route ; found the coast 
frozen, and after a long detention came by way of Copen- 
hagen, and joined them at Amsterdam the day before 
they left it ; that Payne had gone on a visit to Paris, and 
was to return to Mr. Gallatin in three weeks; he set off 
the 7th of May from London. He will have a very pleas- 
ant jaunt no doubt, and Dallas expected to follow him. 
Millegan was gone on a message to Gottenburgh. I dare 
not write you a long letter for fear of being too late for 

*United States Supreme Court. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the mail, and I wish you to get the information as soon 
as possible, for I know you must be anxious. Remember 
me to your sister and believe me your very sincere friend. 

W. Gallatin.* 

Miss Brown, a guest of Benjamin Homans, Chief 
Clerk in the Department of State, tells of a reception at 
the President's, July 4, 1814: 

I see her now, as we entered she was crossing the 
crowded vestibule, conducted by two fair girls, one on 
each side. Where they were conducting her I do not 
know, but she had evidently surrendered herself to their 
sprightly guidance with her usual benignant sweetness. 
She stopped to receive our greetings, and that gave me 
time to admire the tasteful simplicity of her dress. White 
— but of what material I forget. Her hair hung in ring- 
lets on each side of her face, surrounded by the snowy 
folds of her unvarying turban, ornamented on one side 
by a few heads of green wheat. She may have worn 
jewels, but if she did they were so eclipsed by her inher- 
ent charms as to be unnoticed. f 

Lucia Beverly Cutts, quotes Mrs. Madison, "I would 
rather fight with my hands than my tongue"; and says 
that when word wars were waged, Mrs. Madison with- 
drew and returned when the hint had restored peace. 
She, of herself, says, May 12, 1813, to a relative, Mr. 
Coles, and suggestive of latter day slang: 

The twenty tents already look well in my eyes, who 
have always been an advocate for fighting when assailed, 
though a Quaker. I therefore keep the old Tunisian 
sabre within reach. 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

^Social Life in the Early Republic. Anne Hollingsworth 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Very likely when she read the scaring headlines of 
British attack her eye wandered to the blade hung upon 
the wall. Queen Dolly with her headpiece — turban and 
crescent — and the sabre held before her no doubt would 
have looked formidable — but it is another's sentiment : 

There are persons whose loveliness is more formidable 
than a whole regiment of sabred hussars with their fierce- 
looking moustaches. 

The people were in apprehension. Mrs. Seaton, March 
1813, enters: 

You will see by the Federal Republican, that the plan 
might be carried into execution without a miracle, of 
seizing the President and Secretaries with fifty or a hun- 
dred men; rendering this nation a laughing-stock to 
every other in the world. 

The militia musters and manoeuvres were in Lafayette 
Square, then called the President's Square, opposite the 
Executive Mansion. At the period of the Second War, 
Pennsylvania avenue from Fifteenth to Seventeenth 
streets ran along a common with no stately elms or other 
trees ; and along the avenue westward was only one house, 
that a small frame, till was reached the Seven Buildings. 
The grounds of the Executive Mansion on that avenue 
front had slight natural shade and were inexpensively 
enclosed. The view from the Mansion was little broken 
by the habitations and Mrs. Madison for the field glass 
had in every direction a distant horizon.* 

Came to visit Mrs. Madison, did two Quaker ladies, 
Rebekah Hubbs and Sarah Scull. Rebecca and Sarah 
were with Dolly of the Friends' Society in Philadelphia in 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the early days. Rebekah for herself and for Sarah 

writes : 

Seventh Month, 13, 1814. 

* * * And now, my dear friend, having visited thy 
dwelling much bowed down in mind under a sense of my 
weakness, having none but the Lord to appeal to, to 
justify me in my visit, to relieve my mind of much that 
was on it. * * * Assuredly, dear Dorothy, I think 
I shall ever remember thee with gratitude of heart, thee 
and thy beloved companion, your kind and Christian 
entertainment of us; God will not be wanting to reward 
your love. 

Rebekah adds the postscript: 

My love to thy dear, ancient mother-in-law, who I be- 
lieve is not far from the kingdom of Heaven. 

Mr. Madison was absent from home; he, the Com- 
mander-in-Chief, was at the camp and from "M r Wil- 
liams about 6 or 7 miles from Washington Tuesday Aug 
13," he told of the high spirits of the troops and gave 
the varied reports of the enemy to "My Dearest."* 

Washington, August 23, 1814. 

My Dear Madam, — In the present state of alarm and 
bustle of preparation for the worst that may happen, I 
imagine it will be more convenient to dispense with the 
enjoyment of your hospitality to-day, and, therefore, 
pray you to admit this as an excuse for Mr. Jones, Lucy, 
and myself. Mr. Jones is deeply engaged in dispatching 
marines and attending to other public duties. Lucy and 
I are packing, with the possibility of having to leave; 
but in the event of necessity we know not where to go, 
nor have we any means yet prepared for the conveyance 
of our effects. I sincerely hope and trust the necessity 
may be avoided, but there appears rather serious cause 

*lVritings of James Madison. Gaillard Hunt. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of apprehension. Our carriage horse is sick, and our 
coachman absent, or I should have called last evening to 
see your sister. I feel great solicitude on her account. 
Yours very truly and affectionately. 

E. Jones.* 

August 24, 1814. Washington was a manless city. 
The men were running with the army — running hard, 
except those in the neighboring woods where they were 
that they might not see the British such was their con- 
tempt for them. 

The President was on the scene of battle or near it. 
He was busy, busy writing notes to his wife with a pen- 
cil. He was Commander-in-Chief, he issued an order, 
of course, it had to be obeyed. It was 

Come, Armstrong; come, Monroe; let us go; and 
leave it to the commanding general. 

And a poet has slapped the order into rhyme : 

Fly, Monroe, fly. Run, Armstrong, run. 
Were the last words of Madison. 

The Battle of Bladensburg was fought. The Ameri- 
cans ran from the British who were too wearied to stand ; 
and in turn the British fled with fear from an American 
thunder storm.* 

It surprised almost a criticism from Mrs. Madison : 

I can descry only groups of military wandering in 
all directions, as if there was a lack of arms or spirit to 
fight for their own firesides. 

Had she not been influenced by Madison's fear — and 
remained — the house would have been exempt. Said 
General Ross: 

* Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

I have heard so much of praise of Mrs. Madison, 
that I would rather protect than burn a house which shel- 
tered so excellent a lady. 

Mrs. Madison to her sister, Mrs. Todd, reported the 
experiences at the President's House, as a stenographer 
takes a speech. It gives the thrill of reality. And she to 
Mrs. Latrobe gave a graphic account. 

Extract from a letter to my sister published in the 
sketch of my life written for the National Portrait 

Tuesday Augt 23d 1814. 

Dear Sister, — My husband left me yesterday morns 
to join Gen. Winder. He enquired anxiously whether 
I had courage, or firmnefs to remain in the President's 
house until his return, on the morrow, or succeeding day 
and on my afsurance that I had no fear but for him and 
the success of our army, he left me, beseeching me to take 
care of myself, and of the cabinet papers, public and 
private. I have since rec d two despatches from him writ- 
ten with a pencil ;* the last is alarming, because he desires 
I should be ready at a moment's warning to enter my 
carriage and leave the city; that the enemy seemed 
stronger than had been reported, and that it might hap- 
pen they would reach the city, with intention to destroy 
it. * * * I am accordingly ready ; I have pref sed as 
many cabinet papers into trunks as to fill one carriage; 
our private property must be sacrified, as it is impossible 
to procure wagons for its transportation. I am deter- 
mined not to go myself until I see Mr. Madison safe, and 
he can accompany me, — as I hear of much hostility 

*Mr. Chester Bailey, in Poulson's Advertiser, Philadelphia, says: 
The Treasury Office was also soon on fire; the President's house 
being first despoiled of a few objects of curiosity— some pictures and 
books from Mr. Madison's library, and a parcel of the pencil notes 
received by Mrs. Madison from her husband while he was with 
the troops. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

towards him. * * * disaffection stalks around us. 

* * * My friends and acquaintances are all gone; 
even Col. C , with his hundred men, who were sta- 
tioned as a guard to the enclosure. * * * French 
John (a faithful domestic,) with his usual activity and 
resolution, offers to spike the cannon at the gate, and 
to lay a train of powder which would blow up the British 
should they enter the house. To the last proposition I 
positively object, without being able, however, to make 
him understand why all advantages in war may not be 

Wednesday morns twelve o'clock. — Since sunrise I 
have been turning my spy glafs in every direction and 
watching with unwearied anxiety, hoping to discover the 
approach of my dear husband and his friends; but, alas, 
I can descry only groups of military wandering in all 
directions, as if there was a lack of arms, or of spirit to 
fight for their own firesides.* 

Three o'clock. — Will you believe it, my sister? We 
have had a battle, or skirmish near Bladensburg, and I 
am still here within sound of the cannon ! M r Madison 
comes'not; may God protect him ! Two messengers, cov- 
ered with dust, come to bid me fly; but I wait for him. 

* * * At this late hour, a wagon has been procured; 
I have had it filled with the plate and most valuable port- 
able articles belonging to the house ; whether it will reach 
its destination, the Bank of Maryland, or fall into the 
hands of British soldiery, events must determine. 

Our kind friend, M r Carroll, has come to hasten my 
departure, and is in a very bad humor with me because 
I insist on waiting until the large picture of Gen. Wash- 
ington is secured, and it requires to be unscrewed from 

*A sparsely built section. See In Memoriam: Benjamin Ogle 
Tayloe. "What in the early part of the last century was known as 
the President's Square, was then, and for many years afterward, a 
common, with a graveyard on a small portion, which during the 
thirties, after the visit of Lafayette, became known and recognized 
by his name." — James Croggon, The Evening Star, June 17, 1906, 
and April 19, 1913. 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the wall.* This procefs was found too tedious for these 
perilous moments ; I have ordered the frame to be broken, 
and the canvafs taken out; it is done, — and the precious 
portrait placed in the hands of two gentlemen of New 
York, for safe keeping, f And now, dear sister, I must 
leave this house, or the retreating army will make me a 
prisoner in it, by filling up the road I am directed to take. 
When I shall again write to you, or where I shall be to- 
morrow, I cannot tell ! ! 


To Mrs- Latrobe : 

December 3, 1814. 
* * * 

Two hours before the enemy entered the city, I left 
the house where Mr. Latrobe's elegant taste had been so 
justly admired, and where you and I had so often wan- 
dered together, and on that very day I sent out the silver 
(nearly all) — the velvet curtains and Gen. Washington's 
picture, the cabinet papers, a few books, and the small 
clock — left everything else belonging to the publick, our 
own valuable stores of every description, a part of my 
clothes, and all my servants' clothes, &c, &c, in short, 
it would fatigue you to read the list of my losses, or an 
account of the general dismay, or particular distresses of 
your acquaintance. Mrs. Hunter and Mrs. Thompson 
were the only ladies who stood their ground. I confess 
that I was so unfeminine as to be free from fear, and 
willing to remain in the Castle. If I could have had a 
cannon through every window, but alas! those who 
should have placed them there, fled before me, and my 
whole heart mourned for my country ! I remained nearly 

*On the removal of the seat of government to Washington, in 
1800, a magnificent portrait of General Washington, painted by- 
Stuart partly, and completed by Winstanley, to whom President 
John Adams' son-in-law, Colonel Smith, stood for the unfinished 
limbs and body, hung in the state dining-room." — The Ladies of 
the White House. Laura Carter Holloway. 

fjacob Barker and Robert G. L. DePeyster. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

three days out of town, but I cannot tell you what I felt 
on re-entering it — such destruction — such confusion ! 
The fleet full in view and in the act of robbing Alex- 
andria! The citizens expecting another visit — and at 
night the rockets were seen flying near us! 

Paul Jennings, valet to Mr. Madison, relates the 
stirring scene, with slight variance, due to the excite- 
ment at the enactment and the shading of memory, for 
he relates it forty-nine years after: 

While waiting, at just about 3, as Sukey, the house- 
servant, was lolling out of a chamber window, James 
Smith, a free colored man who had accompanied Mr. 
Madison to Bladensburg, galloped up to the house, wav- 
ing his hat, and cried out: "Clear out, clear out! Gen. 
Armstrong has ordered a retreat!" All then was con- 
fusion. Mrs. Madison ordered her carriage, and pass- 
ing through the dining-room, caught up what silver she 
could crowd into her old-fashioned reticule, and then 
jumped into the chariot with her servant-girl Sukey, and 
Daniel Carroll who took charge of them ; Jo. Bohn drove 
them over to Georgetown Heights; the British were ex- 
pected in a few minutes. 

Miss Brown wrote that her mother and sister saw 
"Mrs. Madison in her carriage flying full speed through 
Georgetown, accompanied by an officer carrying a drawn 
sword. Where the poor fugitive found a refuge I did 
not learn.* 

At Georgetown, the President met his lady, she hav- 
ing left the city only half an hour before, having re- 
mained with great composure at the President's house 
until a message brought her the tidings that the British 
were within a few miles of the city, and that our army 
were retreating without any chance of being rallied so as 
to check their march. f 

*Social Life in the Early Republic. Anne Hollingsworth 

^Baltimore Patriot, August 26, 1814. 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

At the meeting Mr. and Mrs. Madison agreed on the 
routes and rendezvous of retreat. 

The refuge may have been the place of Walter S. 
Chandler, afterwards owned by Colonel Thomas L. 
McKenney and named by him Weston. He wrote he 
was fervently thankful "that Dolly Madison could 
have found such hospitable refuge at Weston." 

Authentic accounts in detail of the flights of Mr. and 
Mrs. Madison cannot be given with assurance. That 
night (Wednesday) under guard she slept in a tent in the 
encampment* and the next day (Thursday), crossed into 


It is repeatedly stated that on the Virginia side of 
the Potomac she arrived at the place of Mr. Love; 
that he was with the troops, and in his absence Mrs. 
Love made a hospitable hostess; that she pushed on 
to a tavern; that the tavern mistress, for fancied griev- 
ances, reviled her; and that from the tavern she moved 
further on to Mrs. Minor's. 

On Saturday, the 27th, she received a note from 
Mr. Madison advising her to return ; on Sunday she 

The valet's (Paul Jennings) account is essentially 

Mrs. Madison slept that night at Mr. Love's, two or 
three miles over the river. After leaving that place she 
called in at a house and went up stairs. The lady of the 
house learning who she was became furious, and went to 
the stairs and screamed out, "Miss Madison! you come 
down and go out ! Your husband has got mine out fight- 

*At Tennallytown, two miles north of the heights of George- 
town, D. C. 

t Forty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 


By Gilbert Stuart 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ing, and d you, you shan't stay in my house; so get 

out!" Mrs. Madison complied, and went to Mrs. Minor's, 
a few miles further, where she stayed a day or two, and 
then returned to Washington, where she found Mr. Madi- 
son at her brother-in-law's, Richard Cutts, on F Street. 
All the facts about Mrs. M. I learned from her servant, 

Anne Hollingsworth Wharton has identified Mrs. 
Madison's first (Virginia) refuge in the flight. It is 
Rokeby, beyond Chain Bridge. It was the country 
seat of Richard H. Love, whose wife was Elizabeth 
Matilda Lee. From Sir Walter Scott's Rokeby, which 
a little time before appeared, he named it. Scott's 
heroine is Matilda, as was his. 

The movements of Mr. Madison on these eventful 
days have more definite detail. Extract from his 

Memorandum, Aug. 24, 1914. 

When the battle had decidedly commenced, I ob- 
served to the Secretary of War and Secy of State that 
it would be proper to withdraw to a position in the rear, 
where we could act according to circumstances; leaving 
military movements now to the military functionaries 
who were responsible for them. This we did, Mr. Rush 
soon joining us. When it became manifest that the battle 
was lost, Mr. Rush accompanying me, I fell down into 
the road leading to the City and returned to it. 

It had been previously settled that in the event of 
the enemy's taking possession of the city and the ne- 
cessity of Executive consultation elsewhere, Frederick 

The lady of a house where the British officers supped on the 
evening they entered the city, recognized among them a person who 
had been at her house, and even called on Airs. Madison in the 
President's house (as the person declared) in the disguise of a dis- 
tressed woman, on the Saturday preceding the capture! This is a 
fact which may be relied on. — National Intelligencer. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Town would be the proper place for the assembling 
of the Cabinet. 

Mr. Madison dined at Mr. Cutts', on Fourteenth 
Street, between four and five o'clock; and arose before 
the cloth was removed upon hearing of the arrival of 
the Secretary of War. This interview, as related by 
Mr. Barker, with that Secretary was at Mr. Mon- 
roe's* near O'Neal's, and lasted until seven o'clock. 
They separated to meet for a final interview at eight 
o'clock.f The interview, as related by Mr. Carroll, 
was on Windmill or Camp Hill. 

A spectator, in the Baltimore Patriot, August 26 : 

The President, who had been on horseback with the 
army the whole day, retired from the mortifying scene 
and left the city on horseback, accompanied by General 
Mason and Mr. Carroll. t 

From a lengthy letter of recollection : 

Sydenham, near Philadelphia, 10th July, 1855. 
My Dear Sir, 

3|C 3fC ^ 

* * * I have, indeed, to this hour, the vivid im- 
pression upon my eye of columns of flame and smoke 
ascending throughout the night of the 24th of August 
from the Capitol, President's house, and other public 
edifices, as the whole were on fire, some burning slowly, 
others with bursts of flame and sparks mounting high 
up in the dark horizon. This never can be forgotten by 

*Mr. Monroe, Secretary of State, 2017 I Street. John Arm- 
strong, Secretary of War, and George W. Campbell, Secretary of 
Treasury, lived in the same house in the Seven Buildings. 

fRelated by Jacob Barker in a public letter to James Gordon 
Bennett, May 5, 1848. Mr. Barker dined that day at Mr. Cutts' with 
Mr. Madison and in the evening with Mr. Armstrong at O'Neal's. 

tCharles J. Carroll in The Hew York Herald, January 31, 1848. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

me, as I accompanied out of the city on that memorable 
night in 1814, President Madison, Mr. Jones, then Sec- 
retary of the Navy, General Mason, of Annalostan Island, 
Mr. Charles Carroll, of Bellevne, and Mr. Tench Ring- 
gold. There were no others of our group that I re- 

If at intervals the dismal sight was lost to our view, 
we got it again from some hill-top or eminence where 
we paused to look at it. We were on horseback, attended 
by servants, proceeding on the Virginia side of the Po- 
tomac, which we crossed at the Little Falls, intending to 
recross at the Great Falls that night or the next morning, 
so as to be again on the Maryland side, and return to 
Washington as the movements of the enemy and our own 
strength might prompt. 

* * * 

Richard Rush. 

Colonel J. S. Williams, Washington.* 

Brookvillef Aug. 27 10 oC 
My dearest 

Finding that our army had left Montgomery Court 
House, we pushed on to this place, with a view to join it, 
or proceed to the City, as further information might 
prescribe. I have just rec d a line from Col. Monroe, 
saying that the Enemy were out of Washington, & on 
the retreat to their Ships & advising our immediate re- 
turn to Washington. We shall accordingly set out thither 
immediately. You will all of course take the same reso- 
lution. I know not where we are in the first instance to 
hide our heads ; but shall look for a place on my arrival. 
Mr. Rush offers his house in the six buildings, and the 
offer claims attention. Perhaps I may fall in with Mr. 
Cutts, and have the aid of his advice. I saw Mr. Bradley 

^History of the Invasion and Capture of Washington. — John S. 

fThen as now a small Quaker settlement ; it is nineteen miles 
north of the Capitol. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

at Montgomery D H. who told me that M rs Cutts was 
well, & Jamey will give up some particulars w ch I have 
not time to write. 

Truly yours 

J. Madison 
Since the above it is 
found necessary to 
detain Jamey, & I 
sent a Trooper 

Mr. Madison to Mrs. Madison : 

I cannot yet learn what has been the result. Should 
the port have been taken, the British ships with their 
barges will be able to throw the city again into alarm, 
and you may be again compelled to retire from it, which 
I find would have a disagreeable effect. Should the 
Ships have failed in their attack, you can not return too 
soon. * * * keep Freeman till the question is de- 
cided, and then lose no time in sending him to You. In 
the mean time it will be best for you to remain in your 
present quarters. I wrote you yesterday morning by ex- 
press, from Brookeville, and at the same time to the Secy 
of the Navy, supposing you all to be together. It is 
possible the separation may have prevented your receiv- 
ing the letter. I returned to the city yesterday, in com- 
pany with Mr. Monroe, Mr. Rush, &c, and have sum- 
moned the Heads of Dept. to meet here without delay. 
Inclosed is a letter from Mr. Cutts. My next will be by 
Freeman, & as soon as I can decide the points of your 
coming on. 

Ever & most affy. yours, 

J. M. 

Upon her return Mrs. Madison found both ends of 
Long Bridge were burnt. Colonel Fenwick "busy in 
transporting munitions of war over the Potomac in the 
only boat left at his disposal, peremptorily refused to let 
any unknown woman cross in the boat with her carriage." 



By James Peale 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

She disclosed herself confidentially, and she "was driven 
in her carriage into the frail boat, which bore her home- 

The tornado that burst upon the British to scare them 
away and was to the Americans better than a fort is re- 
produced in varied lights of lurid rhetoric. 

The British correspondent tells of the tornado thus : 

Our column was completely dispersed, as if it had 
received a total defeat; some of the men flying for shelter 
behind walls and buildings, and others falling flat upon 
the ground to prevent themselves from being carried 
away by the tempest; nay. such was the violence of the 
wind, that two pieces of cannon which stood upon the 
eminence were fairly lifted from the ground and borne 
several yards to the rear.* 

George Gleig, subsequently Chaplain General of the 
British Army writes to Horatio King : 

On the 25th a hurricane fell on the city, which un- 
roofed houses and upset our three-pounder guns. It 
upset me also. It fairly lifted me out of the saddle, and 
the horse which I had been riding I never saw again, t 

Miss Brown, who was of the Homans party, in her 
recollections, has this of the storm : 

The government papers and other valuables were 
covered with tarpaulins, Into the corners under these we 
crept, but failed to find entire protection from the deluges 
of rain. The boats were lashed together and to the trees 
on shore, which we were afterwards told bent over like 
hoops, while the clouds seemed to pause over our devoted 
heads and pour down one continuous stream of elec- 

*History of the late War. — Charles J. Ingersoll. 
fThe Battle of Bladensburg. — Horatio King. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

tricity. How long this lasted I know not, I only have 
an abiding sense of my forlorn condition, wet and com- 
fortless without a change of clothing. When the storm 
abated we were again put to sea, in no condition to pass 
the night. As we were being pushed up stream, anx- 
iously scanning the shore for some house where we might 
find shelter, we were happy as to descry a log cabin 
known to the boatmen as the Hominy House.* 

Mrs. Smith's report of Mrs. Madison's flight :f 

August 30. 

* * * After this melancholy survey, Mr. Smith went 
to see the President, who was at Mr. Cutts' (his brother 
in law) where we found Mrs. Madison and her sister 
Mrs. Cutts. Mrs. M. seem'd much depress'd, she could 
scarcely speak without tears. She told me she had re- 
mained in the city till a few hours before the English 
enter'd. She was so confident of Victory that she was 
calmly listening to the roar of cannon, and watching the 
rockets in the air, when she perceived our troops rushing 
into the city, with the haste and dismay of a routed force. 
The friends with her then hurried her away, (her car- 
riage being previously ready) and she with many other 
families, among whom was Mrs. Thornton and Mrs. 
Cutting with her, retreated with the flying army. In 
George town they perceived some men before them 
carrying off the picture of Genl. Washington (the large 
one by Stewart) which with the plate, was all that was 
saved out of the President's house. Mrs. M. lost all her 
own property. * * * Mrs. M. slept that night in 
the encampment, a guard being placed around her tent, 
the next day she cross'd into Virginia, where she re- 
mained until Sunday, when she return'd to meet her 

*Social Life in the Early Republic. Anne Hollingsworth 

Wharton. Harmony House was near Cabin John. 

"fForty Years of Washington Society. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Thornton's vivid recitals in the diary are like 
unto histrionic scenes of the historic events that were 
attended with much excitement and confusion. 

1814. August. Monday 22. Mrs. Cutts & Forrest 
went away. The president went to the camp this even- 
ing with M r Armstrong &c. 

Tuesday 23. Dr T. went today with Mr Cutts & Mr 
R d Forrest intending to go to the Camp near the Wood 
Yard but met the president & suite and D r T & M r C 
went with them near Bladensburg. D r T. rode, recon- 
noitering with Col. Monroe M r Cha s Carroll Rush & 
Ringgold & returned at midnight. * * * Had the 
horses harnessed ready to go off as we had several acct s 
that the enemy were near Bladensburg. — Our troops 
came over the bridge again 

Wednesday 24 th No accounts at ten this morning of 
the course of the enemy. Almost all our acquaintance 
gone out of town nearly all the movable property taken 
away — offices shut up & all businefs at a stand. 

We heard rumours that the armies had engaged. & 
expected to hear the cannon &c but heard nothing — at 
last saw a man riding as hard as pofsible towards the 
president's house — we sent up soon after & found that 
Mrs M — was gone — We set down to dinner but I cou'd 
eat nothing & we dilly dally'd till we saw our retreating 
army come up the avenue — we then hastened away, and 
were escorted out of town by our defeated troops, Genl 
Washington's picture & a cart load of goods from the 
president's House in Company — (it was supposed that 
M r Custis got some of the soldiers' to take out this pic- 
ture.) When we got to the upper part of George T n — 
we met M r Richards who advised us not to proceed up 
the road, as it was crowded with troops &c & that there 
was a rumour that the British were to head them that 
way & give them Battle. * * * 

Thursday 25 th D r T went to the City & by his ex- 
ertions, saved the patent office from destruction — They 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

were on the point of setting it on fire, & he represented 
to the officer (Col Jones) that it was the museum of the 
arts & that it wou'd be a lofs to all the world — The war 
office was not burnt till after breakfast today — The rope 
walks were burnt. — We had a dreadful storm & gust but 
fortunately unaccompanied with rain — The weather dur- 
ing all the fires fortunately was very calm, but it appears 
almost miraculous that the whole place was not con- 
sumed. — But great pains was taken by the English not 
to injure private property. It is feared that very little 
property had been saved out of the president's House — 
D r T — ■ returned to dinner & we set out at V2 after 4 for 
our farm. — 

Friday 26. D r T. went to town — we went over to M r 
Bradley's* to see Mr Cutts * * * 

Saturday 27 Rain. It cleared up about noon & we 
prepared to come to town, as D r T said he must be in 
town every day — we came in & brought dinner with us 
— M r Cutts & family came in & many other persons 

* * * The President is at Mr. Rush's.—* * * 

Sunday 28th * * * The president Monroe & 
Rush stopped at M r Cutts' door— I lent Mr M— a spy 
glafs. — The people are violently irritated at the thought 
of our attempting to make any more futile resistance. 

* * > Dr T — followed the president & party to tell 
them what the people said — They did not appear pleased 
at it said they wou'd hear of no deputation & that the 
people must all arm — D r T. came home & distrefsed us 
more than ever by taking his sword & going out to call 
the people & to join them— * * * Mrs M came to 
M rs Cutts' in Parrotts carriage — Mr Madison Monroe 
&z dined there. — * * * M r s Smith & family came 
in & staid to tea we stepped in to see M r s Madison, she 
was very violent against the English — & wished we had 
10000 such men as were pafsing (a few troopers) to sink 

*The present Chevy Chase Club building. The Bradley Family 
and The Times in Which They Lived. Charles S. Bradley. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

oar enemy to the bottomlefs pit. She had better attri- 
bute the lofs of her palace to the right cause viz want of 
proper defence in time. 

Monday 29 th * * * The president & Lady being 
next door we were guarded at night. * * * 

September, Wednesday 7 th D r T published in the 
Natl Intelligencer a statement of his conduct while the 
enemy were in the city. * * * 

Thursday 8 th * * * I had a long conversation 
with M rs Cutts & Madison today They have listened 
to many misrepresentations & falsehoods concerning D r 
T — & of course are not pleased with him 

The enemy surely beyond the suburbs and the tempo- 
rary-away again at home, engaged, each for himself, a 
war in the newspaper. Dr. Thornton struck the first 
blow and quickly in the battle of ink came James H. 
Blake, the Mayor, Com. Tingey, Dr. James Ewell, Com. 
Rodgers, Gen. Winder, Mr. Monroe, the President, and 
others. Such defiance, boldness, bravery, courage, in- 
trepidity and spirit of "Don't give up the ship," and 
"Strike — for your altars and your fires !" and all that 
make a thrilling story of war as was never equalled — 
such valor was not even exhibited on the fields of Blad- 
ensburg. So relentless was the strife that Dr. Blake at- 
tacked Dr. Thornton's reputation as a poet; and Dr. 
Thornton charged Dr. Blake with cowardice because it 
happened he had affairs out of the city when the ma- 
rauders came to the city. 

An unknown poet has embalmed 

Bladensburg Races. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Probably it is not generally known that the Flight of 
Mahomet, the Flight of John Gilpin, and the Flight of 
Bladensburg, all occurred on the 24th of August. 

James Madison a soldier was, 

Of courage and renown, 
And Generalissimo was he 

Of famous Washington. 

Quoth Madison unto his spouse, 

"Though frighted we have been 
These two last tedious weeks, yet we 

No enemy have seen. 

"To-morrow is the twenty- fourth, 

And much indeed I fear 
That then, or on the following day, 

That Cockburn will be here." 

"To-morrow, then," quoth she, "we'll fly. 

As fast as we can pour 
Northward, unto Montgomery, 

All in our coach and four. 

"My sister Cutts, and Cutts, and I, 

And Cutts' s children three, 
Will fill the coach ; — so you must ride 

On horseback after we." 

He soon replied, "I do admire 

Of human kind but one, 
And you are she, my Dolly dear ; 
Therefore it shall be done." 

The morning came — the coach was brought, 

But yet was not allow'd 
To drive up to the door, for fear 

"he Mob should grumble loud. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

At Brother Cutts' the coach was staid, 

Where they might all get in — 
Six precious souls, and all agog 

To dash through thick and thin. 

Smack went the whip ; round went the wheels ; 

Were never folks so glad : 
The dust did rise beneath the coach, 

As though the dust were mad. 

The General, at his horse's side, 

Seized fast the flowing mane, 
And up he got in haste to start, 

But soon stopt short again. 

For saddle-tree scarce reach'd was he, 

And seated to his mind, 
When, turning round his face, he saw 

His Cabinet behind. 

Monroe was there, and Armstrong bold, 

No bolder man mote be, 
And Rush, the Attorney-Gen-e-ral, 

All on their horses three. 

* * * 

The Cabinet on horseback sat, 
And there they reason'd high, 

If for the camp they should set out, 
Or northward straight should fly. 

Not long before the gallant Four 

Had plann'd it to their mind ; 
When Citffee scream'd, "De Shappo-hat 

And Sword be leave behind !" 

"Good lack !" quoth he, "then bring 'em me, 

My leathern belt likewise, 
In which I bear my trusty Sword, 

When I do exercise." 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Now Mistress Dolly (careful soul!) 

Two wrapper-bags had found, 
To hold the sword and chapeau-bras, 

And keep them safe and Sound. 

Up Cuffce starts — and brings the bags, 

And lays them open wide; 
Then puts the chapeau on his head, 

The sword upon his side. 

* * * 

Now see him starting once again, 

Upon his nimble steed, 
Full slowly pacing through the street, 

With caution and good heed. 

But gaining soon the country road 

Beneath his well-shod feet, 
The snorting beast began to trot, 

Which gall'd him in his seat. 

As luck would have it, all at once, 

At distance in the rear, 
Six gallant troopers, mounted well, 

Approaching did appear. . 

And one, upon his bugle horn, 

So loud a blast did blow, 
Our Hero wish'd him ten miles off — 

He scar'd the Griffin so. 

So "Fair and softly!" James did cry; 

But James he cried in vain : 
The Griffin gallop'd off outright, 

In spite of curb or rein. 

So, stooping down, (as he needs must, 

Who cannot sit upright,) 
He grasp'd the mane with both his hands, 

And eke with all his might. 


% 9 




1 , 




















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* i 





.' , ■ 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The wind did blow; the cloak did fly, 

Like streamer long and blue ; 
Till, loop and button failing both, 

At last — away it flew. 

Then, might all people well discern 

The gallant Little Man; 
His sword did thump behind his back, 

So merrily he ran. 

Rush follow'd on, and Armstrong scream'd; 

The troopers one and all ; 
And eke Monroe cried out, I guess, 

As loud as he could bawl. 

Stop there ! your Excellency ! stop ! 

The northern road you'll pass — 
We'll get into a pretty scrape, 

If further on we chase. 

And still, as fast as he rode on, 
'Twas marvellous to view 

How he outrode the Cabinet, 
And eke the troopers too. 

And now, as he went towering down, 

His little head full low, 
His sword flew up against his hat, 

And gave him such a blow. 

Off went at once his chapeau-bras, 

And fell into the road : 
Our Hero never stop't thereat, 

But onward still he rode. • 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Thus, all along the District through, 

These gambols he did play, 
Until he came unto the spot 

Where Winder's forces lay. 

Up came Monroe, and Armstrong too, 
And Rush brought up the last; — 

The troopers pass'd, and hung their heads, 
Asham'd that they were beat. 

"Where are the British? Winder, where? 

And Cockburn, where is he? — 
D'ye think your men will fight, or run, 

When they the British see? — 

Armstrong and Rush, stay here in camp, 
I'm sure you're not afraid; — 

Onrself will now return; and you, 
Monroe, shall be our Aid. 

And, Winder, do not fire your guns, 

Nor let your trumpets play, 
Till we are out of sight — Forsooth, 

My horse will run away. 

The camp he quits : Monroe and he 
With speed their steps retrace: 

And soon they gain'd the northern road, 
So rapid was their pace. 

Then, speaking to his horse, he said, 

"I am in haste to dine : 
'Twas for your pleasure I came here; 

You shall go back for mine." 

Ah! luckless word, and bootless boast, 
For which he paid full dear ! — 

Just as he spake, a cannonade 
Did roar most loud and clear. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Whereat his horse did snort, as if 

He heard a lion roar, 
And gallop'd off with all his might, 

As he had done before. 

Away went Madison — away 

Went chapeau-bras once more; 
So frighted was the horse, it fell 

Much sooner than before. 

Away went Madison — away 

Monroe went at his heels — 
And, all the while, his lab'ring back 

A merry thumping feels. 

Now, at Montgomery, his wife 

Out of the window, spied 
Her gallant husband, wond'ring much 

To see how he did ride. 

"Stop, stop ! your Highness, here's the house !" 

They all at once did roar; 
"Here, at Montgom'ry, you're as safe 

As ten miles off or more ! — 

"Stop him, Monroe ! here's sister Cutts, 

The Girls, and Cutts, and I; 
The dinner's cold, and we are tir'd!" 

Monroe says, "So am I." 

But neither his horse, nor James, a whit 

Inclin'd to tarry there; 
For why? — the distant cannonade 

Was rumbling in his rear. 

So, like an arrow swift, he flew, 

Shot from an archer's bow ; 
So did he fly — so after him 

So swift did fly Monroe. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Six gentlemen upon the road 

Beheld our General ride — 
Monroe behind — the chapeau gone ; 

The broad szvord by his side. 

What News? What News? your Highness! say, 

Not one of them was mute : — 
He pass'd right on — they ; one and all, 

Soon join'd in the pursuit. 

But all the windows on the road 

Flew open, in short space; 
The women thinking, I suppose, 

Our General rode Express: 

And so he did ; for he first bore 

The news to Frederick-town; 
Nor stopt, from where he first got up, 

Till he again got down. 

Now long live Madison, the brave ! 

And Armstrong, long live he ! 
And Rash! and Cutts! Monroe! and Jones! 

And Dolly, long live She! 

The adherents of John Sioussat, the guardian of the 
door, claim the honor of the rescue of the portrait and 
inextinguishable honor on that account; more explicitly 
that he deftly cut the canvas from the frame and warned 
the gentlemen who were about to fold it not to do so for 
fear of cracking. The testimony is not convincing yet 
there is glory without dispute for Mr. Sioussat. He did 
remain until all had fled and did rescue the bright-coated, 
screech-voiced macaw — escorting her to Colonel Tay- 
loe's. Mr. Sioussat continued on to Philadelphia.* 

♦Half a century later, when the White House was undergoing a 
renovation, this portrait was sent, with many others subsequently 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The news of the disaster at Washington reached 
Washington Irving while descending at night, the Hud- 
son. A person who came on at Poughkeepsie related in 
detail the destruction of the public buildings. In a lull 
a paltry spirit lifted itself from a settee and derisively 
''wondered what Jimmy Madison would say now." In- 
dignantly Mr. Irving responded : 

Sir, do you seize on such a disaster only for a sneer? 
Let me tell you, sir, it is not now a question about Jimmy 
Madison or Jimmy Armstrong. The pride and honor 
of the nation are wounded; the country is insulted and 
disgraced by this barbarous success, and every loyal cit- 
izen would feel the ignominy and be earnest to avenge it. 

The news had only to reach Philadelphia for it to offer 
to be an asylum for the homeless rulers and to make again 
a home for the government. 

This resolution was concurred August 27, 1814: 

Resolved by the Select and Common Councils of the 
city of Philadelphia, that the Presidents of Councils be 
authorized to write to the President of the United States 
and inform him, that if the executive and Congress deem 
the city of Philadelphia a suitable place under existing 
circumstances for them to assemble and reside at. that 
the necessary buildings will be provided by councils for 
their accommodation as well as the public offices attached 
to the different departments. 

added to this solitary collection, to be cleaned and the frame bur- 
nished. The artist found on examination that the canvas had never 
been cut, since the rusted tacks, time-worn frame, and the size 
compared with the original picture, was the most conclusive evi- 
dence that Mrs. Madison did not cut it out with a carving-knife, as 
many traditions have industriously circulated. Ladies of the White 
House. Laura Carter Holloway. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

William Wirt to Mrs. Wirt : 

Georgetown, D. C, October 14, 1814. 

Here I am at Crawford's. * * * I am sur- 
rounded by a vast crowd of Legislators and gentlemen 
of the Turf, assembled for the races which are to com- 
mence to-morrow. The races! — amid the ruins and 
desolation of Washington. 

% >)c ^c 

I went to look at the ruins of the President's house. 
The rooms which you saw so richly furnished, exhibited 
nothing but unroofed naked walls, cracked, defaced and 
blackened with fire. * * * From this mournful 
monument of American imbecility and improvidence, and 
of British atrocity, I went to the lobby of the House of 
Representatives, — a miserable little narrow box, in which 
I was crowded and suffocated three hours, in order to 
see and hear the wise men of the nation. They are no 
great things. 

Mrs. Madison, while at her sister's, standing in the 
doorway, saw the Rev. Mr. Brackenridge passing by. 
She stopped him and said : 

I little thought, Sir. when I heard that threatening 
sermon of yours, that its denunciation would so soon be 

And, seriously taking the remark, replied he : 

Oh, Madam, I trust this chastening of the Lord, may 
not be in vain. 

National Intelligencer, September 9, 1814: 

The Public Buildings having been mostly destroyed, 
the various offices are locating themselves in those pri- 
vate houses that are most commodious and conveniently 
situated for the purpose. The President will occupy 
Col. Tayloe's large house, which was lately occupied by 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the French Minister. The Department of State occupies 
the house lately occupied by Judge Duvall. The Treas- 
ury Department is fixed at the house formerly occupied 
by the British Minister Foster; the War Office is in the 
building adjoining the Bank of the Metropolis; the Navy 
Office is in Mr. Mechlin's house near the West Market, 
and the General Post Office is one of Mr. Way's new 

The Commissioners on the part of the United States 
first met with the Commissioners for Great Britain at 
Ghent, August 6, 1814; the terms of the treaty were con- 
cluded December 24, following. 

The Octagon became the Executive Mansion. It was 
officially known as the Executive Annex. It is at New 
York avenue and Eighteenth street. It was built by 
Colonel John Tayloe after plans of Dr. Thornton; com- 
menced in 1798 and completed in 1800. In the drawing 
room to the right of the hall on the first floor before the 
mantel, classically carved, Queen Dolly did receive with 
queenly grace. 

A joyous occasion it was at the Octagon when news 
of peace came. Elation of spirit rose high. A guest 
writes : 

Late in the afternoon came thundering down Penn- 
sylvania Avenue a coach and four foaming steeds, in 
which was the bearer of the good news. Cheers fol- 
lowed the carriage as it sped on its way to the residence 
of the President. Soon after nightfall, members of 
Congress and others deeply interested in the event pre- 
sented themselves at the President's house, the doors of 
which stood open. When the writer of this entered the 
drawing-room at about eight o'clock, it was crowded to 
its full capacity, Mrs. Madison (the President being with 
the Cabinet) doing the honors of the occasion. And 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

what a happy scene it was ! Among the members pres- 
ent were gentlemen of opposite politics, but lately arrayed 
against one another in continual conflict and fierce de- 
bate, now with elated spirits thanking God, and with 
softened hearts cordially felicitating one another upon 
the joyful intelligence which (should the terms of the 
treaty prove acceptable) should re-establish peace. But 
the most conspicuous object in the room, the observed of 
all observers, was Mrs. Madison herself, then in the me- 
ridian of life and queenly beauty. She was in her person, 
for the moment, the representative of the feelings of him 
who was in grave consultation with his official advisers. 
No one could doubt, who beheld the radiance of joy 
which lighted up her countenance and diffused its beams 
around, that all uncertainty was at an end, and that the 
government of the country had, in very truth (to use an 
expression of Mr. Adams on a very different occasion), 
"passed from gloom to glory." With a grace all her own, 
to her visitors she reciprocated heartfelt congratulations 
upon the glorious and happy change in the aspect of 
public affairs; dispensing with liberal hand to every in- 
dividual in the large assembly the proverbial hospitalities 
of that house.* 

The valet has told this thrilling news with more thrill. 
And in almost these exact words he says: When the 
news of peace arrived we all went crazy with joy. Miss 
Sally Coles, a cousin of Mrs. Madison, from the head of 
the stairs cried out "Peace ! Peace !" and told the butler, 
John Freeman, to serve out without stint wine to all 
within. "I played the President's March on the violin," 
and Mr. Sioussat (the valiant who plotted the train of 
powder, rescued the parrot and secreted the Algerian fire- 
arms) with joy and wine was drunk for two days. It 
appears from the valet's account that to Mr. Sioussat's 

*Dolly Madison. Maud Wilder Goodwin. 


i . / * i ■ ." • 

i" T! 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

joyous exhibition others could not reach for says he : 
"Mr. Madison and all his cabinet were as pleased as any, 
but did not show their joy in this manner." And further 
he says: "Such another joyful time was never seen in 
Washington." With the news of peace came that of 
General Jackson's victory at New Orleans and there were 
great illuminations. 

Mrs. Thornton's diary: 

Feby 11. Saturday. Rockets fired for the Evacua- 
tion of N. Orleans — 

13. Rumours of expresses announcing peace. 

14. M rs Madison & Miss Coles called. — H. 

Carroll arrived this eveng bringing the 
Treaty. — * 

15. We went to the Drawing Room, a crowd. 

George T n illuminated. 
18. Treaty exchanged in the night of Friday — 
Cannons Rockets & Illuminations to 

The Octagon was the Executive Mansion during the 
Peace Winter. 

The corner house of the Seven Buildings, Pennsyl- 
vania Avenue and Nineteenth street, became the Exec- 
utive Mansion until the close of Madison's administra- 
tion. Now on the first floor are shelves lined with drugs 
for physical disorders when then were concocted rem- 
edies to heal the disruption with England and the 
troubles of the States and now a tailor sitting Turk-like 
sews up seams and puts on patches just like they did then 
in political things. The belles and beaux and society gods 
and goddesses ascended the mahogany stairway to the 

*Treaty was signed that evening. See Ingersoll's History of 
the Second War. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

drawing room on the second floor where under that same 
chandelier suspended by a great chain stood the hostess. 
And before the same windows stood with lighted candles 
trained slaves as motionless as sculptured Egyptians. 

Here a dinner was given General Andrew Jackson 
where he appeared as awkward in stiff masculine dress 
as did Queen Dolly gorgeous in a court gown, of which 
the society reporter took note. The front of the petti- 
coat was of pink satin embroidered in pale lavender and 
natural colors; that the skirt and train draped over this 
was of pink and lilac striped satin brocaded in silver; and 
that the bodice of this toilet was cut very low. 

A glimpse of the home and society life of Mrs. Mad- 
ison while at the Seven Buildings and of Washington 
ways are given by Mrs. Benjamin W. Crowninshiekl, 
wife of the Secretary of the Navy, in letters to her 

November 11, 1815. 

About twelve o'clock Mr. C. came in and said I must 
go immediately to see Mrs. Madison. Our girls went 
with me. She lives in the same block with us. I did not 
alter my dress. Well, we rung at the door, the servant 
showed us to the room — no one there. It was a large 
room, had three windows in front, blue window curtains 
which appeared to be of embossed cambric, damask pat- 
tern, red silk frinze * * * In about two minutes 
the lady appeared, received us very agreeably, noticed 
the children much, inquired their names, because she told 
them she meant to be much acquainted with them. You 
could not but feel at your ease in her company. She was 
dressed in a white cambric gown, buttoned all the way 
up in, front, a little strip of work along the button-holes, 
but ruffled around the bottom. A peach-bloom colored 
silk scarf with a rich border over her shoulders by her 
sleeves. She had a spencer of satin of the same color, 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

and likewise a turban of gauze, all of peach bloom. She 
looked very well indeed.* 

Dec. 7: (1815) 

Ball to-night. Last eve I went to the drawing-room. 
We were not crowded, but one room well filled; all 
much dressed, but their new dresses saved for this eve. 
Mrs. Madison's is a sky-blue striped velvet — a frock — 
fine, elegant lace round the neck and lace handkerchief 
inside and a large ruff, white lace turban starred in gold, 
and white feather. Clothes so long that stockings or 
shoes are not seen, but white shoes generally worn. * * * 
The folks here in the house say I must dress my hair, not 
cover it up, so last eve it was combed up as high on the 
top as I could get it, braided, and a bunch of flowers 
pinned in with one of my best ornaments — the green and 
gold one. In the evening Mrs. Madison said, "Oh, Mrs. 
G, your butterfly is too much hidden." I asked her what 
she meant. She replied "that elegant ornament in your 
hair — it is superb indeed." I imagine she took a liking 
to it, for she had neat little ornaments — emeralds set in 

This call in the columns of the National Intelligencer, 
October 10, 1815 was for the formation of the Wash- 
ington City Orphan Asylum : 

Orphans' Asylum. The Ladies of the county of 
Washington and neighborhood are requested to meet at 
the Hall of Representatives, this day, at 11 o'clock, A.M. 
for the purpose of joining an association to provide an 
asylum for the destitute Orphans. When we reflect that 
these orphans, by the death of their parents, are in a par- 
ticular manner placed by Providence under the protec- 
tion of society — when we consider the wretchedness and 
vice to which they are peculiarly exposed, without the 
benefit of the admonitory voice or the protecting care of 
their parents, it is hoped that the Ladies will shew the 

*The Story of the White House. Esther Singleton. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

interest they take in the fate of those destitute and for- 
saken children, by their zeal and humanity in endeavor- 
ing to supply to them, as far as in their power, the place 
of the deceased parents. A nobler object cannot engage 
the sympathy of our females — when we reflect, too, how 
uncertain are all human possessions, we know not, but 
that we may be providing a respectable and comfortable 
asylum for our own descendants. — "Cast your bread upon 
the waters, and after many days, it shall return to you." 
— It is therefore hoped, that there will be a full and 
punctual attendance: particularly by those ladies who 
have already subscribed to this institution. 

N. B. It will be recollected that the above day of 
meeting will be the day of payment. 

Mrs. Madison was elected first directress and Mrs. 
Van Ness, second directress. Mrs. Madison held the 
honor during Mr. Madison's presidency. She gave 
twenty dollars and a cow and besides her own deft 
handiwork in cutting for the seamstresses. 

In after years in the newspaper the asylum authorities 
made acknowledgment of donations and admonition for 
others in this quaint quotation from the scriptures: Ye 
shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, 
until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering 
unto your God. 

Mrs. Crowninshield, 1815, writes: 

Christmas morn. It seems more like our Indepen- 
dence — guns firing all night. I am going to the Cath- 
olic church — it is their great day. Last eve we passed at 
the President's — took the girls with us. * * * She 
had the parrot brought in for the girls, and he ran after 
Mary to catch her feet. She screamed and jumped into 
a chair and pulled hold of Mrs. Madison. We had quite 
a frolic there, returning soon after eight.* 

*The Story of the White House. Esther Singleton. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

At the New Year's reception, 1816, Mrs. Crownin- 
shield made note of this costume: 

Mrs. Madison was dressed in a yellow satin embroid- 
ered all over with sprigs of butterflies, not two alike in 
her dress ; a narrow border in all colors, made high in the 
neck; a little cape, long sleeves, and a white bonnet with 

Mrs. Crowninshield chronicles an incident indicative 
of Mrs. Madison's self-inconvenience in consideration of 

February 1, 1816. 

Mrs. Madison has been sick since Sunday — bilious 
colic. I have seen her once since, and she left her cham- 
ber to meet a party in her drawing-room who dined there, 
but she could not go to the table, and has been more un- 
well since — had no levee last evening.! 

Mrs. Crowninshield, February 16, 1816, writes: 

I was at the drawing-room on Wednesday — expected 
to be the only one, as there were so many the last Levee, 
and there was another party the same eve. Soon after 
I got in Mrs. Madison said how much we think alike — 
both with a little blue and flowers. I had on my blue 
velvet and flowers on my head. Mrs. Madison a muslin 
dotted in silver over blue — a beautiful blue turban and 
feathers. I have never seen her look so well.$ 

It is reported that the most splendid Presidential re- 
ception ever given to that date was in February, 1816. § 

*Recollection of Men and Things at Washington during the 
third of a Century. L. A. Gobright. 

fThe Story of the White House. Esther Singleton. 




Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

"The decorations were magnificent, and the building was 
brilliantly illuminated from garret to cellar, much of this 
light being made by pine torches held by trained slaves." 
Chief Justice Marshall and the Associate Justices of the 
Supreme Court, in their gowns, were there; and, the 
Peace Commissioners — Bayard, Clay, Gallatin and Rus- 
sell; and Generals Brown, Gaines, Ripley and Scott, with 
their aids, in their military gorgeousness ; and the Dip- 
lomatic Corps in their decorations. The Cabinet and 
Congress and citizens were there. In this aggregation 
of suns, stars and satellites shined most dazzlingly, Dolly. 
"Mrs. Madison appeared in a toilet of rose-colored satin, 
and white velvet train, which swept the floor for several 
yards. The train was lined with lavender satin and 
edged with a ruching of lace. She also wore a gold gir- 
dle and gold necklace and bracelets. This costume was 
completed by a turban of white velvet, trimmed with 
white ostrich tips, and a gold embroidered crown." Mrs. 
Madison's beauty of person, grace in manner, sparkle of 
speech, richness in apparel, elicited from Sir Charles 
Bagot, himself handsome and courtlike — "she looked 
every inch a queen." 

This was the hey-dey of her glory. Her spirit was 
bright. The brightness of her spirit was matched by the 
brightness of her dress. Any somberness of apparel of 
her girlhood was over-equalled by the gayety of that of 
her womanhood. 

Mrs. Crowninshield, April 6, 1816, writes: 

We dined at the President's on Tuesday. The din- 
ner very handsome, more so than any I have seen — the 
heads of Departments and all the foreign Ministers there. 
Mrs. Bagot dressed in a light green Italian crepe, striped 
with folds of white satin about a quarter apart, a roll of 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

satin at the bottom with large braids of satin. It was 
shorter than the satin dress under it. It stuck out very 
much around the bottom. Three bracelets on one arm, 
two on the other — all different. A string of pearls round 
her neck — dress very low behind. She has the whitest 
neck I ever saw, for she has black eyes and hair, and 
white flowers round her head, and her hair was above it 
— a great wave on the top. * * * She is a very 
agreeable lady — is determined to be pleased with every- 

The Right Honorable Charles Bagot, Grand Cross of 
the Bath and Privy Councillor, His British Majesty's 
Minister, was cultured and courteous and fit to conciliate 
the countries at the conclusion of the war. His equip- 
ment of excellence was emphasized by the presence of the 
most beautiful Mrs. Bagot. Sir Charles was of lineage, 
antique and aristocratic; his father was Lord Bagot of 
Bagot's Bromley, and his mother, the daughter of Lord 
Bolingbroke. Lady Bagot was the Honorable Miss 
Wellesley, daughter of Lord Maryborough, Earl of 
Mornington, and the niece of the Duke of Wellington. 
Her father and his brother, Lord Cowley, had celebrity 
for handsomeness. The brother had the prethought ful- 
ness to have Sir Thomas Lawrence preserve in oil paints 
his handsomeness for to the eyes to be a perpetual feast. 
Lady Bagot like Sir Charles was a diplomat and none 
discerned she disliked the society of the States and de- 
plored "the necessity of sticking pins in herself to keep 
awake at the stupid balls." Sir Charles and Lady Bagot 
were with the Madisons en rapport and visited Mont- 

*The Story of the White House. Esther Singleton. 
William Winston Seaton. A Biographical Sketch. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Two ladies of the common people from the West were 
lost on their way to the President's house. An elderly 
gentleman, a friend of the Madison's, amused at their 
rusticity and pleased with their simplicity conducted them 
in person. The family were at breakfast, nevertheless, 
Mrs. Madison promptly came into the drawing-room and 
by her cordiality eased the ladies of their timidity. That 
the President's Lady should be so plainly dressed, to wit : 
"in a dark gray stuff dress, with a white apron, and ker- 
chief pinned across her breast" astonished them and also 
assured them that she was not elevated in spirit as in sta- 
tion and made so bold "P'r'aps you wouldn't mind if I 
just kissed you, to tell my girls about." They both car- 
ried away the happy recollection of a kiss with the en- 
dearing embrace that went with it.* 

That Mrs. Madison heightened the tint given her by 
nature was claimed by her sex that were envious. Mrs. 
Seaton put in her journal: 

January 2, 1813. 

* * * Mrs. Madison is said to rouge ; but not evident 
to my eyes, and I do not think it true, as I am well as- 
sured I saw her color come and go at the naval ball, when 
the flag of the Macedonian was presented to her by 
young Hamilton.! 

Miss Mary Kirkpatrick, Mrs. Smith's niece, was at a 
drawing room, December 4, 1816, and she observed that 
Mrs. Madison's "face look'd like a flame." Upon this, 
Mrs. Smith's annotator, unmindful it was either heat or 
health, ungallantly asserts that "Truth compels the state- 
ment — Mrs. Madison painted."$ But I adopt the same 

*Ladies of the White House. Laura Carter Holloway. 

\William Winston Seaton. A Biographical Sketch. 

XForty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 


















Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

compliment The Good-Natured Man made to his adored 
— "Your warmer blushes soon convinced the company, 
that the colouring was all from nature." Others have 
adopted for this period a convenient territory, that is, 
some did paint that need not to, not to he odd with the 

Mrs. Seaton in her journal, immediately supplements 
the sentence above : 

Mrs. C. and Mrs. G. paint excessively, and think it 
becoming; but with them it was no deception, only folly, 
and they speak of it as indispensable to a decent appear- 

Dolly was standing at the window of her home on 
Fourth street in Philadelphia; her friend, Mistress Lee, 
asked that she bend so that her blooming cheeks might 
be reached ; the friend's suspicions were false — the color 
was too deep for erasure. 

In May, 1816, The Washington, Commodore Isaac 
Chauncey in command, arrived at Annapolis, where she 
attracted much attention. An American seventy-four 
was so unusual a sight that she was visited by a party 
from Washington, consisting of the President and Mrs. 
Madison, Secretary Crowninshield, and Navy Commis- 
sioners Rodgersf and Porter. 

William W. Birth who passed nearly all of his ninety 
and nine years in Washington had this interesting recol- 
lection : 

In the easternmost of the Seven Buildings, at the 
corner of 19th street, President Madison lived for a short 
time, after the burning of his national home in August, 

*William Winston Seaton. A Biographical Sketch. 
^Commodore John Rodgers. Charles Oscar Paullin. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

1814. I remember seeing Mrs. Madison there frequently 
at the corner window feeding and petting a fine macaw 
parrot. This bird's brilliant plumage was a great at- 
traction to the youngsters of both sexes of that time, and 
at the regular feeding hours many were drawn to the 
corner to see the handsome bird and hear its mistress 
talk to it. She as well as her pet was very engaging. I 
can clearly recall her as she appeared in her inevitable 
turban. Mrs. Madison was a favorite under all circum- 
stances, in all places and on all occasions. She was not 
beautiful, but there was a something in her manner that 
always interested and charmed. 

Fitz-Greene Halleck, of ease and elegance in prose as 
in poetry, who made Marco Bozzaris immortal and in the 
doing himself, 

One of the few, the immortal names that were not 
born to die, 

had in his coterie of cultured friends the gentlemen 
who took a part in the rescue of the Washington por- 
trait — Jacob Barker and Robert G. L. DePeyster. 
Barker was a banker and had his counting-room at 84 
South street and in Wall street at the time Halleck was 
of his bookkeepers. Halleck and DePeyster were life- 
friends and exchanged letters of polished phrasing upon 
topics social and sometimes political and of the latter 
character the poet notwithstanding as he confessed had 
never himself voted politically but had socially twice, 
"once for an assistant alderman, and once for a ten-dollar 
bill, both of which proved counterfeit. 

In the letter to his mother which follows the poet 
struck a practical note, true now as then, that is, the 
greatness of the republic's city will be greater in a multi- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

plied measure when its citizens have the energy and en- 
terprise to encourage commerce. 

To Mrs. Israel Halleck, 1816: 

In November, having some business in Philadelphia, 
and actuated by a desire to see (or rather to say that I 
had seen) some of the Southern cities, I travelled as far 
as Alexandria, in Virginia, stopping some days at Phila- 
delphia, Baltimore, Washington, etc., on the way. * * * 
Washington is a mere desert. Well might Anacreon 
Moore ridicule its "Goose Creek," its swamps and 
marshes. Since he visited it some slight improvement 
has been made, but the present generation and its chil- 
dren's children will rest quiet in their grave or sleep in 
'dull cold marble' before it will present an appearance 
worthy of its illustrious founder. Its natural situation 
is, however, admirable. Its site is very commanding, 
and had it the aid of commerce, without which nothing 
can nourish (I might almost say exist) in this country, 
its choice as the capital of a great empire would have 
been highly judicious. I paused for some time on the 
field of Bladensburg, rendered memorable by the battle 
which decided the fate of Washington, and added one to 
the tears of indignation and regret which every American 
must drop upon that spot. Never was there a better 
place for defense marked out by the finger of Nature 
for a warrior's choice, and never was there a field more 
shamefully abandoned. The English fought like blood- 
hounds. They had to march every step of the way up- 
hill, and, had had any thing like a decent resistance been 
made to their progress, the bloody victory of St. Sebas- 
tian's would have found its rival in historic annals. The 
roadside is dotted with the graves of their dead; over 
that of a colonel who fell in the battle, a small sprig of 
mullet had grown, as if Nature meant to mark it as dis- 
tinct from the common dust of the forgotten brave. 
Caps, shreds of cloth, etc., and now and then an arm or 
a leg, scattered on the field, were still discernible when 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

I passed. The capitol and President's house were in 
ruins. They had commenced repairing them, but it must 
take many years to reinstate them in their former splen- 
dor. They were very fine buildings, the President's 
house certainly the finest in America. His Excellency 
was then in town. He was ill, and I did not see him. 
His brother-in-law, Mr. Cutts, with whom I was ac- 
quainted, offered to introduce me, but, as my stay was 
very short, I declined his offer. I saw Mrs. Madison at 
the theatre, where a number of gentlemen amateurs were 
murdering a play or two. She is a very handsome, dig- 
nified-looking personage, and I understand presides at 
her levee in a style not excelled by European courts. 
She has much suavity of manner and of the grace and 
demeanor of polished society than her husband. I also 
saw Mr. and Mrs. Gallatin, and sundry other "great 
folks," whose sole interest was derived from their tem- 
porary ascendency in the concerns of our famous Re- 

An English traveller, Lieut. Francis Hall, 14th Light 
Dragoons has so described the local scene in his Travels 
in Canada and The United States in 1816 and ±Ci? that 
the render can see it in this distance of time and without 
eyes almost as clearly as Mrs. Madison actually did, day 
by day: 

From the foot of the Capitol hill there runs a straight 
road, (intended to be a street,) planted with poplars for 
about two miles, to the President's house, a handsome 
stone mansion, forming a conspicuous object from the 
Capitol Hill : near it are the public offices, and some 
streets nearly filled up : about a half a mile further is a 
pleasant row of houses, in one of which the President at 
present resides : there are a few tolerable houses still 
further on the road to George Town, and this is nearly 
the sum total of the City for 1816. It used to be a joke 
against Washington, that next door neighbours must go 
through a wood to make their visits; but the jest and 


By Charles B. King 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

forest have vanished together: there is now scarcely a 
tree betwixt George Town and the Navy Yard, two miles 
beyond the Capitol, except the poplars I have mentioned, 
which may be considered as the locum tenentes of future 
houses. I doubt the policy of such thorough clearing; 
clumps of trees are preferable objects to vacant spaces, 
and the city in its present state, being commenced from 
the extremities instead of the centre, has a disjointed and 
naked appearance. 

And the traveller who has written his narrative enter- 
tainingly without departing from veracity has this of the 
presidential procedure, socially: 

The President, or rather his lady, holds a drawing- 
room weekly, during the sitting of Congress. He takes 
by the hand those who are presented to him; shaking 
hands being discovered in America to be more rational 
and manly than kissing them. For the rest, it is much 
as such things are every where, chatting, and tea, com- 
pliments and ices, a little music, (some scandal, I sup- 
pose, among the ladies,) and to bed. 

Samuel Lorenzo Knapp says : 

The president's house is a magnificent mansion. 
* * * On the south eastern side of the wall there is 
a stone arch for a gateway; it looks, from the an- 
tiquity of the style and the colour of the material of 
which it is made, as if it had stood centuries defying the 
climate. Two large ancient weeping willows, one on 
each side of the arch, add much to its venerable appear- 
ance. These trees have not grown up since the date of 
the federal constitution. They are older than the city's 
charter. They were provincial seedlings, now national 
monuments, j It is said that an accomplished lady of the 
Great House in former days, when congratulated upon 
her elevation, remarked with a smile, "I don't know that 
there is much cause for congratulation; the President of 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the United States generally comes in at the iron gate, 
and goes out at the weeping willows." 

The jest is not definitely attributed to Mrs. Madison 
but John Quincy Adams said "The term of her husband's 
Presidency was tempestuous and turbulent" and she 
knew that the Presidential honor comes with thorns as 
the rose is not all color and fragrance. 


Z z^ffi ''' w*BwtSB!we 



THE reign of Madison as President and of Mrs. 
Madison as First Lady was in a few days to be 
no more. Mr. Madison to William Eustis, 
March, 1817, writes: 

Mrs. M. would gladly say what would equally express 
the feelings she retains for Mrs. Eustis, but she is obliged, 
by intense occupations in the packing and other arrange- 
ments, to refer to me the pleasure of doing it for her.* 

On March 4, Mr. Madison responded to the citizens 
of Washington, in a speech, short and stately.f 

Mrs. Lee wrote to Mrs. Madison the letter. The 
writer is the same Mistress Lee to whom Dolly wrote of 
the introduction of Madison to be made by Burr : 

Washington, March 4, 1817. 

My Dear Friend, — On this day eight years ago, I wrote 
from the retirement of Sully to congratulate you on the 
joyful event that placed you in the highest station our 
country can bestow. I then enjoyed the proudest feelings 
— that my friend, the friend of my youth, who never had 
forsaken me, should be thus distinguished and so pecu- 
liarly fitted for it. 

How much greater cause have I to congratulate you 
at this period, for having so filled it as to render yourself 
more enviable this day than your successor, as it is more 
difficult to deserve gratitude and thanks of the com- 
munity than their congratulations. You have most de- 
cidedly deserved all of this. Being deprived, by the sick- 
ness of my child, from joining the multitude to-day in 

*Letters and Other Writings of James Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

paying my respects where they are due, I feel the sweetest 
consolation in devoting myself to you. My heart clings 
to you, my beloved friend, and has done so for the last 
fortnight, with a selfishness that produces the keenest 
feelings of regret, and though my domestic habits, more 
than inclination, have prevented my taking advantage of 
your kind invitations to be more with you, yet I felt a 
security and pleasure in being so near you, and a confi- 
dence in your affection, that constituted my chief pride as 
a citizen, I assure you. But the period has at length ar- 
rived when we must again part. You will retire from the 
tumult and fatigue of public life to your favorite retreat 
in Orange County, and will carry with you principles and 
manners not to be put off with the robe of state, having 
been drawn from maternal breasts, and nurtured from 
the example of those dear, pious parents, to whom you 
ever resigned yourself with such filial obedience and de- 
votion as to bring their blessings on your head. Talents 
such as yours were never intended to remain inactive ; on 
retiring from public life, you will form a more fortunate 
arrangement of your time, be able to display them in the 
more noble and interesting walks of life. You will cher- 
ish them, my dear friend, in a more native soil ; they will 
constitute the chief felicity of your dear, venerated hus- 
band, and descend in full perfection to your son. I re- 
member at this moment, in my last conversation with my 
venerable uncle, your father's friend, he said of you, 
"She will hold out to the end; she was a dutiful daughter, 
and never turned her back on an old friend, and was 
charitable to the poor." Will you do me the favor, dear 
Dolly, — for it is near my heart that you should, — take 
advantage of some leisure moment to say something for 
me to your husband. In the fullness of my gratitude I 
can express nothing, but shall ever hold in remembrance 
the highly valued friendship and confidence he has shown 
my husband. I rejoice to hear that you do not leave the 
city very soon, and may hope to enjoy your society, 
though I presume your engagements are most numerous 
just now. I must ask your pardon for thrusting such an 
epistle upon you, but it relieves my heart, and will not, 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

I trust, wound yours; it demands no other acknowledg- 
ment, at present, than a cordial reception. It grows dark, 
and I want you to have this on this momentous evening. 
Believe me most truly yours, 

Eliza Lee. 

Mr. Johnson was an Associate Justice of the United 
States Supreme Court. 

Washington, 1817. 

I am this moment on the eve of leaving Washington, 
and shall leave it without a parting interview with one 
whom I must be indulged in the liberty of comprising 
among the most respected and most cherished of my 
friends. But you, madam, cannot mistake the feelings 
which dictate to me this mode of making you an humble 
tender of a most affectionate adieu. 

You are now about to enter upon the enjoyment of the 
most enviable state which can fall to the lot of mankind — 
to carry with you to your retirement the blessings of all 
who ever knew you. Think not, madam, that I address 
to you the language of flattery. It is what no one but 
yourself would hesitate at conceding. And be assured 
that all who have ever enjoyed the honor of your ac- 
quaintance, will long remember that polite condescension 
which never failed to encourage the diffident, that suavity 
of manner which tempted the morose or thoughtful to 
be cheerful, or that benevolence of aspect which suffered 
no one to turn from you without an emotion of gratitude. 

Permit, madam, one who has shared his due proportion 
of your attentions to make you a sincere tender of the 
most heartfelt gratitude and respect, and wish that you 
may long enjoy every blessing that Heaven dispenses to 
the meritorious. 

Do me the favor to tender to Mr. Madison also a 
respectful adieu, and a cordial and sincerely friendly one 
to your son. 

Very respectfully, 
William Johnson, Jr.* 

*Dolly Madison. Maud Wilder Goodwin. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The Madisons retired to Montpellier. Not strictly 
for retirement. Mr. Madison was constantly employed 
in study and correspondence. Mrs. Madison had the 
care of the garden, the domestic direction and the man- 
agement of the plantation. She read to her husband. 
She attended his mother. At times she herself was in- 
disposed and held to her bed, yet this did not exempt her 
from the strain of supervision. The hordes of guests 
came to Montpellier — the great indeed and those feeling 
great, the welcome and those to be made welcome. 

The overtax of hospitality was much the same at Jef- 
ferson's. The steward of Monticello, Captain Bacon, 
says of the guests: 

They travelled in their own carriages and came in 
gangs, the whole family with carriage and riding horses 
and servants, sometimes three or four such gangs at a 
time. We had thirty-six stalls for horses, and only used 
about ten of them for the stock we kept there. Very 
often all of the rest were full and I had to send horses 
off to another place. I have often sent a wagon-load of 
hay up to the stable, and the next morning there would 
not be enough left to make a bird's nest. I have killed 
a fine beef and it would be eaten in a day or two.* 

Between the families, Jefferson and Madison, was 
closest intimacy. Monticello and Montpellier were about 
thirty miles apart — a day's journey. 

Washington, June 29-1817- 
My beloved friend 

I did not intend your Sister should have left the city 
without a letter from me acknowledging the receipt of 
those precious testimonies of your Friendship, and confi- 
dence, lately finished by Wood. — At no other period of 
our lives could they have been so acceptable. 

*Dolly Madison. Maud Wilder Goodwin. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The likeness of your dear Husband almost breaths 
and exprefses much of the serenity of his feelings at the 
moment it was taken, in short, it is, himself, and most 
valuable to us. — 

Your likenei's my dear friend is not so satisfactory to 
me. to a common observer, it is sufficient, and instantly 
recognized. — But I lament the absence of that exprefsion 
of your eye, which speaks from, and to, the Heart — the 
want of which robs your countenance of its richest treas- 
ure. And tho, whilst memory lasts, I shall always be able 
to supply, to myself, the deficiency, yet I regret I cannot 
paint it to my children. Wood however, has promised to 
try his skill again when we meet in Washington. * * * 

Adieu God bless you all 

Affey Eliza Lee 

The portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Madison by Wood are 
in the possession of Lee connections, the Davidges. It 
is not the portrait of Mrs. Madison by Wood made fa- 
miliar by reproductions in engravings. 

Oliver Oldschool (Nathan Sargent) in The Port Folio, 
April, 1818: 

It is our privilege to offer a passing testimony to dis- 
tinguished excellence; but on the present occasion we do 
not feel authorized to enter into the usual details of biog- 
raphy. At a time when the restless spirit of party covered 
every path with thorns, this lady held the branch of con- 
ciliation and she well deserves a place among those who 
endeavour to promote peace and good will. In the ex- 
alted station from which she recently descended, she 
never neglected her early friends, but extended to all who 
approached her, those attentions which add dignity to the 
great and inspire the humble with confidences. A poli- 
tician of the present day, exclaimed, on a memorable oc- 
casion, "We are all federalists, we are all republicans." 
In her intercourse with society, Mrs. Madison reduced 
this liberal sentiment to practice; her circle was at once 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the model of polished life and the dwelling of cheerful- 
ness. We had the pleasure of seeing her some years ago, 
on the occasion of a splendid fete, which was given by 
his excellency M. Daschkoff, the minister from Russia, 
in honor of the natal day of his sovereign. We remarked 
the ease with which she glided into the stream of con- 
versation and accommodated herself of its endless variety. 
In the art of conversation she is said to be distinguished, 
and it became evident in the course of the evening, that 
the gladness which played in the countenances of those 
whom she approached, was inspired by something more 
than mere respect. * * * 

We have not forgotten how admirably the air of au- 
thority was softened by the smile of gayety: and it is 
pleasing to recall a certain expression that must have been 
created by the happiest of all dispositions — a wish to 
please, and a willingness to be pleased. This, indeed, is 
to be truly good and really 'great. Like a summer's sun 
she rose in our political horizon, gloriously, and she sunk, 

March 30th 1819 
My belov cl friend, 

* Do you know? or do not know my belov'd 
Dolly that your absence from this city is more and more 
lamented. That the urbanity, benevolence, and cheerful- 
nefs that was di fused through the circles over which you 
presided will be long sought for in vain — But you are 
happier and Oh! that I could witnefs that superior hap- 
pinefs you enjoy in bestowing those talents and virtues on 
the dear objects that alone claim them — Truly did I enjoy 
the picture painted by the pen of M rs Miller in a letter a 
few days since, as original as herself she says "I spent 2 
days with M r and M" Madison — they enquired kindly 
after you. Her soul is as big as ever and her body has 
not decreased. M r M. is the picture of happinefs they 
look like Adam and eve in Paradise — * * * 

E. Lee 

Mrs. Madison was the first lady of the land and Mad- 
ame de Neuville was the first lady of the other lands. In 


unuinmimimmunffmmm CTimHl 


By Gilbert Stuart 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the world of society in the Capital City, Mrs. Madison 
was the most popular of our own women, and Madame 
de Neuville was the most popular of the representative 
women of the foreign lands. 

The honor of M rs S. H. Smith's company is requested 
at a Ball, to be given in compliment to his Excellency Mr. 
Hyde de Neuville and his Lady, on Tuesday evening, 
the 18th inst. in the Mayor's Buildings, adjoining the 
Franklin Hotel. 


Benj. G. Orr, John Tayloe, 
D. Carroll, of Dud'n, Alexander Kerr, 

John Rodgers, W. W. Seaton, 

Henry Huntt, James Eakin, 

David M. Forrest, French Forrest. 

Washington City, May 8, 1819. 

Mrs. Seaton was a fair reporter : 

May, 1819. 

The public ball was a great success, Monsieur de Neu- 
ville making a very impressive little speech of thanks to 
the citizens. William, with five other married men, offi- 
ciated as master of ceremonies, and I was pleased that he 
had an opportunity of testifying respect for the worthy 
old couple, as we have spent many agreeable hours in their 
hospitable house. They are uncertain if their master* 
will send them here again, but profess a desire to repre- 
sent their nation at this republican capital rather than at 
any of the splendid courts of Europe, not excepting St. 
Petersburg, considered by the far the most magnificent 
in the world. They came, the morning they started, to 
see us, bringing remembrances of the children. The 
French, more than any other people, study these graceful 
attentions, slight in themselves, but the sure avenue to a 
mother's heart.f 

*Williaui Winston Seaton. A Biographical Sketch. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mr. Madison to Mr. Coles: 

Montpellier, September 3, 1819. 

We congratulate you much on the various successes 
of your western career, and the first thing that strikes 
us is the rapidity of your promotions. Bounding over the 
preliminary sailorship, the first step on the deck of your 
bark — pardon me, of the noble structure the Ark — makes 
you a pilot ; the name of pilot is scarcely pronounced be- 
fore you are a captain; and in less than a twinkling of an 
eye the captain starts up a commodore. On the land a 
scene opens out before us in which you, too, figure. We 
see you at once a ploughman, a rail-splitter, a fence- 
builder, a corn-planter, and a hay-maker. To all these 
rural functions, which leave but a single defect in your 
title of husband — (man), you add the facilities of a town 
life. And to cap the whole you enjoy the official dignity 
of "Register of Land Office" in the important Territory 
of Illinois. 

* * Mrs. Madison as well as myself is much grati- 
fied by your promise to devote the next winter to your 
native haunts. We sincerely hope your arrangements 
will give us an ample share of your time. We will then 
take the case of your bachelorship into serious and full 
consideration. Mrs. Madison is well disposed to give all 
her aid in getting that old thorn out of your side, and 
putting a young rib in its place. She very justly remarks, 
however, that with your own exertions hers will not be 
wanted, and without them, not deserved. 

Accept our joint wishes for your health and every 
other happiness. 

James Madison.* 

To Governor Coles, Illinois. 

Montpellier, September 5, 1819. 

I am afraid, dear cousin, that while you and I deliber- 
ate who to choose for a wife, we shall lose some of the 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

finest girls now grown. For instance, it is reported that 
Ellen Randolph is to be married to General Cooke, and 
Virginia to William Burwell. Our niece Eliza was mar- 
ried to Mr. Willis in May, and her sister is to be bound 
to her brother on the 16th of this month ; still I have hopes 
for you, that your future one may become manifest to 
reward your merits and long search. 

We have been expecting a visit from my beloved, Sally, 
until within the last few days, when I was informed she 
had gone to the Virginia Springs. Payne still says he 
will write to you. I suspect he begins to feel with you 
that a good wife would add to his happiness. I am 
sadly disappointed at not having my dear Lucy with me 
next winter; the Judge has persuaded her to remain in 
Frankfort until they can remove altogether, which the 
change in the judiciary will soon authorize him to do. 
* * * I must not expect to amuse you, only in truth 
can assure you of our affectionate interest and friend- 
ship, hoping to see you soon amongst us. 

Dolly P. Madison.* 

The correspondence discloses that for Miss Phoebe, 
Mrs. Madison had a strong affection; and that Mrs. 
Madison had an anticipation of a marriage which would 
make Miss Phoebe a near relative. Parental suggestion, 
although mildly or indirectly given, in such matters 
arouses sometimes a spirit of contrariness. At any rate, 
Mr. Payne parried and tarried until the affair drifted 
into indifference. 

Bolton Farm March 22 1820— 

My dear M" Madison 

* When I review the incidents in my life which 
will appear to me among the most important in its varied 
character, I always trace your hand in their origin ; & shall 
always ascribe to it an influence which shall be gratefully 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

acknowledged as to my good & guardian Genius. When 

life was new & gaiety & fashion & perhaps folly, were my 

favorite pursuits you guided my steps thro' the giddy 

dance, at a time too, when the dignity & brilliancy of your 

station, while they confer'd favor on every object of its 

selection, might well have divided & distracted your 

choice. To the delicacy of your attention then, & since, 

I have never been insensible, & will never permit myself 

to think that I am not among the first who ought to be 

selected to smooth the pillow of sicknefs when it may 

assail you, or to assist you in every office of affection. 
* * * 

Your ever faithful & most affe ate friend, 

P. P. Morris 

Montpellier, July 5, 1820. 

I have just received yours, dearest Anna, and rejoice 
that you are well and have your friends about you. Yes- 
terday we had ninety persons to dine with us at one table, 
— put up on the lawn, under a thick arbor. The dinner 
was profuse and good, and the company very orderly. 
Many of them were old acquaintance of yours, and among 
them the two Barbours. We had no ladies except mother 
Madison, and Nelly Willis ; the day was cool and pleasant ; 
half a dozen only stayed all night with us, and they are 
now about to depart. Colonel Monroe's letter this morn- 
ing announces the advent of the French Minister, and we 
shall expect him this evening, or perhaps sooner. I am 
less worried here with an hundred visitors than with 
twenty-five in Washington, — this summer especially. I 
wish, dearest, you had just a country home as this. I 
truly believe it is the happiest and most true life, and 
would be so good for you and the dear children. 
Always your devoted sister, 

Dolly P. Madison.* 

Mrs. Madison was intensely human. The experiences, 
the hopes, all that is common to the genus, that is good, 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

was hers. And who of the humans who has a rural 
retreat and is selfish but gloats that the possession is his 
and if unselfish but grieves that others are denied such 
joys as are his. Mrs. Madison, unselfish, unusually un- 
selfish, grieves that her sister does not have the happiest 
and truest life in a country home like hers. 

His hospitable gate, 
Unbarr'd to all, invites a numerous train 
Of daily guests. 

Jefferson at Monticello and Monroe at Oak Hill, the 
former's estate now close to the enclosure of the Uni- 
versity of Virginia and the latter's within, were actually 
eaten out of house and home. These statesmen who 
could frame a declaration to create a nation or formulate 
a doctrine to preserve a nation had not sufficient stamina 
to stand against the selfish crowds or had not sufficient 
sense to be aware that if more is paid out than comes in, 
in the course of time, is bankruptcy. The letter of Mrs. 
Madison to her sister, immediately before quoted, in- 
dicates that at Montpellier were the same large ideas of 
hospitality as at Monticello and Oak Hill. 

To Mrs. Madison : 

Dr Madam 

Phoebe had delayed so long a reply to your most 
wellcome letter of April in the daily expectation of seeing 
Mr Todd, that she was about concluding him a false 
knight, and was actually preparing a denunciation of him 
to you, when he suddenly appeared at Bolton to speak 
for himself, which he has done so amiably and satisfac- 
torily that he has silenced all censure, and made the most 
favorable imprefsions on our hearts, indeed my excellent 
friend I cant convey to you the pleasure his company 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

afforded to us all. * * * Phoebe is preparing for a 

ride with him to Bristol, and has made me her Secy. 

* * * 

Y r most devoted Friend 

A. Morris. 
Bolton, near Bristol, 

Penn a . 
July. 14 1820. 

Sunday, July 15th (1820) 

My dearest M rs Madison, 

I have delayed answering your most welcome letter, 
because it led me to expect the pleasure of seeing your 
Son, who did not arrive until last Wednesday. I dare say 
he has been sufficiently wearied with my questions, for I 
was so glad to see him and to know every thing about 
you, how you looked, what you did, what you put on, &c 
&c all the minute details which I thought my long absence 
would make reasonable, however I think I have extracted 
this satisfaction from him, that you are still my own M rs 
Madison, blooming, gay, and affectionate as ever. My 
dear, Father is in very good health, & tolerable spirits, 
although I think he looks considerably older than when 
you saw him. It is a long time since I have seen him 
so much gratified as by the visit of M r Todd who he says 
he admires for his own sake & loves for yours — Our resi- 
dence is retired enough to exclude much gaiety, but not 
to deprive us of reasonable gratifications, & the sweet 
prattle of our little family, is more enlivening than any 
entertainment you can imagine. They are, (in our eyes, 
I mean) beautiful as cherubs and full of intelligence. 
Major Nourse is now stationed at Bristol, which is an 
additional source of pleasure to us, as Louisa and I divide 
much of our time between our dear Rebecca, & our own 
home. He endeavored without success to, induce Payne 
to remain for a longer time among us & carried him to 
Bristol to vary the scene where Major Nourse wished 
him to continue for a few days, but all our united attrac- 
tions failed after two short days & he proceeded on his 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

journey. The tranquil uniformity of our lives leaves 
but little to enliven or narrate in a letter, though it is a 
situation exempt from much care, and if properly con- 
sidered a happier one than the more turbulent varieties 
of the gay world can offer — for my own part, one of the 
liveliest sensations of my heart which is now ungratified 
is that I do not see you for 

Oft in the stilly night 

When slumber's chain has bound me 
Fond mem'ry brings the light 

Of other days around me. 

* * * 

— believe me, your ever affectionate 

Phoebe P. Morris. 

— I was glad to rece e the few lines from you at Baltimore, 
my dearest Payne and can have no doubt that you have 
good reasons for remaining there — I am sorry & dis- 
appointed at my letters not reaching your hands — I wrote 
you at W. at Phil a & at Baltimore, those for the last 
place were enclosed to your aunt C. who, I desired would 
keep the last one until she saw you. It was short, & in 
my great alarm it contained a request that you w d come 
to me as I had a wish to travel a distance from home on 
acct of the Typhus fever — but that fear has been dissi- 
pated for the present by children in the house geting well 
& the negros also. I trust therefore that you will not 
leave your businefs unfinished on my account tho I can- 
not expref s my anxiety to see you. * * * 

Adieu my son — may Heaven bless thee! Your papa 
sends his love to you 

24th May. 21 
Payne Todd 
care of 

M^ Cutts 

Montpellier, April 9, 1823. 

I am impatient to hear from you, my dearest Payne, 
and had I known where to direct I should have written 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

you before this : not that there is anything particular to 
communicate, but for the pleasure of repeating how much 
I love you, and to hear of your happiness. 

Your father received the journal of "Las Casas," with 
your name in it, from Philadelphia, which is an indica- 
tion that you are there, and I write accordingly. We 
returned yesterday from Monticello, after passing three 
days with Mr. Jefferson and one with Judge Nelson. 
* * * Adieu, my dear boy. Your father joins me 
in affectionate wishes for you. 



Mrs. Madison was not "exempt from public haunt" in 
her rural retreat yet less for a few years is recorded of 

The source of tiredness that affected Mrs. Madison 
has affected the countless many since. 

We see & hear so much of the Pre 1 candidates that I 
am as tired of them as I was of Monroes Tour 
Adieu my dearest son 

Allways your affec te 

April 12 '23 

Monroe's tour began in June and ended in September 
(1817.) Monroe, after the inaugural ceremonies, re- 
turned to his residence, 2017 I Street, and held a recep- 

The next letter ends the letters of Miss Phoebe. 
Phoebe Pemberton Morris in 1825 died at Bolton Farm. 
She was sweet and sympathetic. 

Washington January 19, 1824. 

My dearest Mrs. Madison, — I have been in Washing- 
ton about a fortnight, where every body reminds me of 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 











Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

you; but alas! sometimes painfully, for so many scenes 
of joy and sorrow have passed since the happy period of 
my early youth, which was rendered more joyous by your 
protecting care. We are very comfortably established 
together at the "six buildings." I often think of you 
and my dear Mr. Madison alone at Montpelier, for you 
have told me that there is not much visiting in winter. 
I know all your motions and ways so well, that at any 
hour of the day I can represent to myself what you are 
doing. What do you think of the probability of having 
the Marquis de Lafayette for a visit, for surely Mont- 
pelier will be the first place to fly to, when he comes to 
the United States. * * * 

* * * We all attended Mrs. Adams's reception on 
the 8th, and it was really a very brilliant party, and ad- 
mirably well arranged. The ladies climbed the chairs 
and benches to see General Jackson, and Mrs. Adams 
very gracefully took his arm, and walked through the 
apartments w r ith him, which gratified the general curi- 

* * * Adieu, my dearest and best friend ; believe me, 
as ever, 

Your own affectionate 

Phoebe Morris.* 

Deer 2d 1824— 

I have rec d yours my dearest Payne of the 23 d & 24 th 
Nov 1 " & was impatient to answer them yesterday (the 
day of their reaching me) but owing to the winter estab- 
lishment for the male, no post leaves this until tomorrow 
morng — M r Clay with 2 members of Congrefs left us 
yesterday after pafsing 2 days — M r C inquired affection- 
ately after you as does all your old acquaintance whom I 
see — but my dear son it seems to be the wonder of them 
all that you sh d stay so long from us — & now I am 
ashamed to tell when asked how long my only child has 
been absent from the home of his mother! — your Papa 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

& myself entreat you to come to us — to arrange your 
businefs with those concern'd to return to them when 
necessary & let us see you here as soon as pofsible with 
your interest — convenience. Your Papa thinks as I do 
that it would be best for your reputation & happinefs as 
well as ours that you sh d have the appearance of consult- 
ing your parents on subjects of deep acct. to you & that 
you sh d find it so in returning to Phil a when you ap- 
pointed, to chose to do so I have said in my late letters 
as well as this all that / thought sufficient to influence you 
— I must now put my trust in God alone! If the young 
lady you have followed so long, has not yet been won, I 
fear she declines the chance Son to favor your happinefs 
here after tho others might found who would. I enclose 
you 30$ instead of 20 which you mentioned, & tho I am 
sure — 'tis insufficient for the journey, I am unable to add 
to the sum today — I recently p d Holoway $200 on your 
note, with interest for two years — The other small debts 
in the quarter's settled long ago with funds of yours in 
my hands. I hope you will write me the moment you 
get this that I may know certainly your determinations 
& make up my own. I can add no news that is likely to 
interest you except that poor Judge Todd is likely to die 
& that Ellen Randolph is to be married to Mr. Cooledge 

" ocurrence" you allude to, I hope is propicious 

(if it were for your good we might rejoice in your im- 
mediate union provided it brought you speedily to our 
arms who love with inexprefsible tendernefs and con- 

— Your own Mother* 

Mr. Webster to Mr. Mason: 

Washington, December 29, 1824. 

* * * I have been home from Virginia a week. 

* * * We were two days at Mr. Madison's. He was 
very agreeable, and treated us with much hospitality. 

*Onr Early Presidents, Their Wives and Children. Harriet 
Taylor Upton. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

* * * Mrs. Madison is in perfect health, and re- 
members all her Washington acquaintance. 

Maj. Thomas L. McKenney, April 7, 1825, writes to 
Mrs. Madison that he occasionally sees her son, Mr. 
Todd, and that he is well. 



How fair beneath Virginian skies 

Montpellier strikes the travellers' eyes, 

Emerging from its forest bower 

Like feudal chieftain's lonely tower, — 

With parks, and lawns, and gardens drest 

In peaceful verdure proudly blest: — 

— What blended charms arrest the sight ! 

The distant mountains misty height — 

The circling prospects' cultur'd bound, 

The echoing temple's attic round, — 

The locust copse, where warblers throng 

And pour to heaven the festive song, 

The flowers in bright profusion seen, 

The luscious fig's luxuriant green, — 

The clasping vines, whose clusters fair 

Seem as of genial France the care, — 

The bright-eyed pheasant, — beauteous guest, — 

The eastern bird, with gorgeous vest, — 

The snowy jefsamine that towers 

Soft curtain of the nightly bowers, — 

While China's pride, to favoring rays 

Its purple pensile spikes displays; — 

The halls, whose varied stores impart 

The clafsic pencil's magic art, — 

The chisel's life-bestowing power, — 

The lore that cheats the studious hour, — 

And music's strains, which vainly vie 

With the glad spirit's melody. — 

Ah ! here that soul benignant reigns, 

Which tunes to joy these blest domains, — 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Which not in splendid deeds alone 

Of hospitality is shewn, — 

But o'er the lone, domestic scene 

Still beams inspiring and serene, 

And deigns to cheer with smile of grace 

The happy menial's ebon face. — 

— Here Wisdom rests in sylvan shade 

Which once an empire's counsels sway'd, 

And Goodness, — whose persuasive art 

So justly won that empire's heart, — 

And Piety, — with hoary hair, 

Which rising from this Eden fair 

Beholds, by mortal step untrod, 

A brighter Eden with its God. — 

— Montpellier ! there, thy name have set 

A gem in Memory's coronet, 

Whose lustre ruthlefs time shall spare 

Till from her brow that crown he tear, — 

Till from her page that trace he rend 

Which of a stranger made a friend. — 

L. H. Sigourney. 
Norwich, Connecticut 
August 26th 1825. 

John Henri Isaac Browere made life masks of the 

Mr. Madison made a certificate: 

Per request of Mr. Browere, busts of myself and of 
my wife, regarded as exact likenesses, have been executed 
by him in plaister, being casts made from the moulds 
formed on our persons, of which this certificate is given 
under my hand at Montpelier, 19, October, 1825. 

James Madison. 

Charles Henry Hart in pictures reproduced the plaster 
counterparts and made this comment: 

The bust of Madison is very fine in character and 
expression, but that of Mrs. Madison is of particular 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

interest, as being the only woman's face handed down to 
us by Browere. Her beauty has been heralded by more 
than one voice and one pen, but not one of the many 
portraits that we have of her, from that painted by Gil- 
bert Stuart, aged about thirty, to the one drawn by 
Eastman Johnson, shortly before her death, sustains the 
verbal verdict of her admirers; and now the life mask 
by Browere would seem to settle the question of her 
beauty in the negative. 

And the Broweres preserved, by permission, the name, 
Dolly Madison. The Miss was born July 3, 1826. 

Madison to Lafayette, August 21, 1824: 

I this instant learn, my dear friend, that you have 
safely reached the shores where you will be hailed by 
every voice of a free people. That of no one, as you 
will believe, springs more from the heart than mine. 
May I not hope that the course of your movements will 
give me an opportunity of proving it, by the warmth of 
my embrace on my own threshold. Make me happy by 
a line to that effect when you can snatch a moment for a 
single one from the eager gratulations pouring in upon 

General Lafayette from Richmond, Virginia, arrived 
at Monticello, Thursday, November 4th. At the re- 
poseful seat of his illustrious friend he was a week. 
Then, as arranged, he passed on to Montpellier, where 
he received the limit of sincere hospitality. At home he 
was at Montpellier and with Mrs. Madison he visited 
the cabins of the negroes. Granny Milly, one hundred 
and four years of age, lived with her daughters and 
granddaughters, the youngest seventy years of age, all 
retired from the labors of the plantation. These the 

* Writings of James Madison. Gaillard Hunt. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Marquis visited and they got friendly and he would re- 
turn with the token of friendship, a fresh egg or a bright 
flower. He was forced to go by his engagements and 
he was at Washington, the 23d of that month. The 
pleasure the noble Frenchman received, he repaid in the 
same currency and he left with the hosts, memories of 
him too pleasant to be forgotten.* 

The foreign accent that disclosed the distinguished 
foreigner to be French was not at all unfamiliar at 
Montpellier. The Madisons had a French gardener, 
M. Beazee, and he had Madame Beazee. The Madame 
protected her complexion with a mighty shade which 
Mrs. Madison styled the "Beazee bonnet." The Beazees, 
like the French everywhere, never forgot the superior 
beauty of the language of France with all its other in- 
comparable beauties; and with native-land pride and 
with goodness and generosity taught the more enlight- 
ened slaves on the plantation la langue Franqais and 
they to a Parisian had a jargon as queer as the dialect 
of a Tartarin and his neighbors in the south of his 
country, f 

To Mrs. Andrew Stevenson 

Montpellier, 1826. 

I have received by post just now, my ever dear cousin, 
your welcome letter, and cannot express my anxiety to 
embrace you once more; but a spell rests upon me, and 
withholds me from those I love most in this world; not 

*Memoirs of the Marquis De La Fayette, Major-Genera! in the 
Revolutionary Army of the United States of America together with 
his Tour through the United States. Frederick Butler. 
Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

t Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

a mile can I go from home; and in no way can I account 
for it, but that my husband is fixed here, and hates to 
have me leave him. This is the third winter in which he 
has been engaged in the arrangement of papers, and the 
business seems to accumulate as he proceeds, so that it 
might outlast my patience, and yet I cannot press him to 
forsake a duty so important, or find it in my heart to 
leave him during its fulfillment. We very often speak 
of you, and the many causes of our admiration for you, 
concluding, by assuring one another, that if we could 
leave home this winter, it should be only to visit you and 
Mr. Stevenson.* * * * 

Mrs. Madison at all times had with her a relative. 
Of the second generation, her nieces were with her not 
as visitors, but as daughters. Especially was her affec- 
tion for her sister Anna's children. The correspondence 
with Mary and Dolly was more extensive than with their 
brothers or it is more accessible. At the date of the 
next letter Dolly was fifteen years of age. 

Mrs. Madison had fear, she could not repress, that her 
nephew, Walter, would be lost at sea. The fear with 
which she was assailed was to her a foretelling of fate. 
There was a last voyage; he went to sea and he never 
came back. 

To Dolly Payne Madison Cutts: 

Montpellier, July 30, 1826. 

Your letter, my dearest niece, with the one before it, 
came quite safely, for which I return many thanks and 
kisses. I rejoice, too, dear Dolly, to see how well you 
write and express yourself, and am as proud of all your 
acquirements as if you were my own daughter. I trust 
you will yet be with me this summer, when I shall see 
your improvement in person also, and enjoy the sweet 

♦Portrait of Mrs. Stevenson by G. P. A. Healy reproduced in 
Social Life in the Early Republic. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

assurance of your affection. Mary Lee and her husband 
have been indisposed, but are better. They say often 
they hope you will come with your dear mother, as do all 
your relatives and friends in this quarter. The old lady, 
— even the negroes, young and old, want to see you, dear. 

We had old Mr. Patterson and his son Edward from 
Baltimore to stay with us several days, and they tell me 
that Madame Bonaparte is still in France, and her son 
gone to Rome to visit his father. Mr. Monroe left us 
yesterday, disappointed in his views of raising money 
from his land. Mr. B. continued on his way to the 
Springs, and I was disappointed at not sending a packet 
to you, inclosing the flounce which I wanted you to wear, 
worked by me long ago. 

I received by the last post a letter from your cousin 
Payne, at New York ; he writes in fine health and spirits, 
and says he will be detained only a few weeks longer in 
that city. I sincerely hope to see him soon, though it is 
impossible for me to prefer Virginia to the North. If I 
were in Washington with you I know I could not con- 
form to the formal rules of visiting they now have, but 
would disgrace myself by rushing about among my 
friends at all hours. Here I find it most agreeable to 
stay at home, everything around me is so beautiful. Our 
garden promises grapes and figs in abundance, but I shall 
not enjoy them unless your mamma comes, and brings 
you to help us with them; tell the boys they must come 
too. Alas! poor Walter, away at sea! I can scarcely 
trust myself to think of him, — his image fills my eyes 
with tears. 

Adieu, and believe me always your tender mother and 

Dolly P. Madison. 

P.S. We are very old-fashioned here. Can you send 
me a paper pattern of the present sleeve, and describe the 
width of dress and waist; also how turbans are pinned up, 
bonnets worn, as well as how to behave in the fashion?* 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


his fold-out is being digitized, and will be inserted at a 

future date. 


Or -ft 


This fold-out is being digitized, and will be inserted at a 

future date. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

W. Thornton's respectful compliments to Captain Basil 
Hall & would immediately have waited on him to pay his 
respects to wish him the comp ts of the season & to con- 
gratulate him on his safe arrival at the metropolis of the 
U. States where he will meet with most cordial & 
universal welcome but W. T. is at present confined by 
sicknefs. — He invites Cap* Hall to hear the Oration this 
day at two o'clock at the Capitol, by Mr. Southard Secy 
of the Navy Dept a Member of the Columbian Institute; 
and he also requests the honor of the company of Cap- 
tain Hall to dine with the Institute this Day at half past 
4 o'clock at Gadsby's Hotel. — W. Thornton had the honor 
of being acquainted with the late Lord Selkirk, & Mr. 
Halket. — He was also a student in the same class with 
Sir James Hall when at Edinburgh. — 

City of Washn 3 1st Deer 1827— 

Captain Basil Hall's Travels in North America, in the 
years 182/ and 1,828 appeared in print 1829. It is not 
always pleasant to see ourselves as others see us. Cap- 
tain Hall saw what was American through the usual 
English vision. His courteous treatment at Washing- 
ton could not swerve his candid description of it : 

We went from Baltimore to Washington, on the 29th 
of December, 1827. There was still daylight enough, 
when we arrived, to show this singular capital, which is 
so much scattered that scarcely any of the ordinary ap- 
pearances of a city strike the eye. Here and there ranges 
of buildings are starting up, but by far the greater num- 
ber of the houses are detached from one another. The 
streets, where streets are, have been made so unusually 
wide, that the connexion is quite loose; and the whole 
affair, to use the quaint simile of a friend at Washington, 
looks as if some giant had scattered a box of his child's 
toys at random on the ground. 

That Madame Bonaparte did not have a spark of pa- 
triotic pride and that she could be piqued at a slur upon 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

her own people at home is apparent from the retort to 
the superior and supercilious Lord Dundas at a dinner in 
London. To her affirmative answer to — had she read 
Captain Basil Hall's work on America? — the lord sup- 
plemented the inquiry "And did you observe that he called 
all Americans vulgarians?" And after a pause to arrest 
attention came: "Yes, and I was not surprised. Were 
the Americans descendants of the Indians and Esquimaux 
I should have been; but being the direct descendants of 
the English, nothing is more natural than that they should 
be vulgarians." 

In the dress of fiction, Mrs. Smith has displayed fact — 
Mrs. Madison's tact in the line of friendliness — in her 
admirable novel, What is Gentility* The daughter seeks 
gentility through society recognition, ignoring the graces 
of mind and manner — and this is an episode in the 
seeking : 

Alas it was too true ! — The booby of a servant had 
not shown her where to go, but stood, holding the street 
door open, and gazing in admiration on the President's 
lady, who, perceiving an open door before her, had 
entered. Poor Mrs. McCarty! Had she seen a ghost 
enter, she could not have .been more frightened. She 
jumped up, and trying to escape unseen, stumbled over 
the rocker of her eternal rocking chair, as Catharine 
called it. Down she fell, prostrate before the President's 
lady — away flew the pipe, scattering its sparks and ashes. 
— And how long good Mrs. McCarty might have lain 
there, it would be hard to say, since, to rise, without help, 

*The writer is indebted to Mrs. Kate Kearney Henry for the use 
of the book. 

In the copy of Forty Years of Washington Society belonging to 
the Public Library (District of Columbia) is pencilled this footnote: 
"She drove around Washington in an old carriage of disreputable 
appearance and one day a wag tacked on it a card bearing the 
legend : 'This is gentility.' " 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

was more than she could do. But long she did not lay — 
for Mrs. M-d-n, with a politeness flowing from the 
warmth and benevolence of her nature, stooped, and 
most kindly assisted Mrs. McCarty to rise and reseat 
herself — she even picked up the pipe, but instead of offer- 
ing it to the distressed old lady, whose embarrassment 
she perceived, she laid it without observation on the 
table, and then in a tone of voice full of benignity, in- 
quired whether she was hurt, and whether she should 
ring for any assistance? At the sound of so sweet a 
voice, Mrs. McCarty ventured to look in the face of the 
speaker, where she was almost afraid she should see the 
smile of derision. Far from it — the smile was as sweet 
as the voice; and there was something so good, so en- 
couraging in the manner that after two or three hard 
drawn breaths, Mrs. McCarty was able to reply : 

"I hope you will excuse me Ma'am," said she, "I am 
growing old and clumsy." 

"We must all grow old," replied Mrs. M-d-n; "and I 
think it quite becoming to grow fat as we grow old." 

"Now do you ralely Ma'am? Well, if I don't tell our 
Kitty that, for she is always saying how vulgar it is to 
be short and fat." 

"Mrs. Washington, in her old age, was about your 
size, I believe, that is, if I remember aright;" said the 
benevolent Mrs. M-d-n. 

"Now is that possible! Well I'll be sure to tell my 
dater that too. What! Jineral Washington's lady, I 
suppose you mean, Ma'am?" 

"Yes, our good and great Washington." 

"Well now, that's comfortable tidings. When I tell 
our Kitty, she can't after that say it is vulgar to be fat 
and short. And can you tell me, Ma'am, whether our 
dear old President's lady ever smoked? For that is 
another thing my dater is always twitting me about." 

"I never heard that she did," replied Mrs. M-d-n, 
scarcely able to suppress a smile ; "but it is a very common 
custom, I am told, among the old ladies in Virginia, and 
the other tobacco states ; and indeed, I have heard lately. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

that among the young ladies in Baltimore, it is quite the 
fashion to smoke cigars." 

"Well now, you can't think, Ma'am, what heart's con- 
tent you have given me — I'll be sure, Ma'am, to tell our 
Kitty all you have said." 

Here a pause ensued, which Mrs. M-d-n however 
filled up by taking her snuff box from her reticule, and 
offering it to Mrs. McCarty, who, though she never took 
snuff, could not refuse such an honor, and failed not to 
admire the elegant gold box, which she said was raal 
raal genteel. 

Mrs. Smith's picture pleased the former French min- 
ister's wife: 

Paris, January 26, 1829. 

* * * But, my friend, I wished to speak* to you of 
the pleasure I derived from your pretty story about 
"What is real gentility." It is charming. It is a very 
faithful depiction of the character of Mr. and Mrs. Mad- 
ison. It seemed to me that I saw her. The visit of Mrs. 
Madison to the good mother who falls and breaks her 
pipe, is a picture made from nature. * * * 

A. Emilie Pichon.* 

Louis Andre Pichon was the French representative; 
1801 — '5. M. and Mme. Pichon were a delightful 
couple ; happy themselves, they made their happiness con- 
tagious. Amusing anecdotes of them are sprinkled 
through the early pages. f 

Doctor Thornton died March 28, 1828. 

The acceptance of his design for the Capitol caused 
him to locate in the capital city. The Doctor's attain- 
ments were remarkable in their scope. His career in 

* Forty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 

t"I do not think you could have selected a minister more beloved 
by our country, nor more attached to his own." Dr. Thornton to C. 
F. Volney, July 23. 1804. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

diversity is no less remarkable. Mrs. Thornton in her 
notes for his biography has: "philosophy, politics, Fi- 
nance, astronomy, medicine, Botany, Poetry, painting, 
religion, agriculture, in short, all subjects by turns occu- 
pied his active mind." 

Tudor Place is an example of his architecture and 
others are elsewhere mentioned in this work. 

The Doctor was an artist with the pencil and the brush. 
He limned the features of Washington, of Jefferson, and 
of his friend, the Countess Beauharnais, — a friendship of 
his Parisian life — and likewise did he of Mrs. Thornton 
and himself ; and his art included flowers and the beautiful 

He was a poet. Perhaps his poetry might not have 
alone rewarded him with celebrity but the brilliant John 
Randolph of Roanoke matched with the doctor's rhyme, 
two pages of his prose. 

His rhyming repartee was sometimes pleasing — for 
General Washington in a game of billiards stopped his 
play to laugh at a poetic shot. The Doctor asked the 
General how far a cannon* would carry, for on the 
heights of Dover is a very long cannon called Queen 
Anne's Pocket Pistol, inscribed 

Charge me well and keep me clean, 
I'll carry o'er to Calais Green. 

As it is twenty one miles over, the General laughingly 
observed, "Upon my word Doctor that would be a very 
long shot."f 

His poetic propensity had too often outburst to prevent 
preservations. His man had with him this message in 
measure : 

*A term in billiards when the ball played upon glances off and 
strikes another. Letter of Thomas Law, September, 1823. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

April 12, 1811. 
To the good People. 
Pray let the Bearer, Peter, pass, 
He rides a Horse, & leads an afs — 
This is the Vicar fam'd of Bray 
He goes, at M r Brent's to stay — 
Peter returns, without delay 

To Peter. 
If any one you chance to meet 
Stay not to talk, but pafs & greet, 
And neither give nor take a treat. 

The Doctor was English and of the Society of Friends 
but his Lancashire lineage did not lessen the ardor for 
his adopted country and in the clash between it and 
Great Britain he promptly put on his sword and mounted 
his charger for he was a cavalry officer — first a lieu- 
tenant and then, a captain. 

Mrs. Smith's second visit to Montpellier is described : 

Monday, 17th August (1828.) 

Mr. M. met us in the Portico and gave us a cordial 
welcome. In the Hall Mrs. Madison received me with 
open arms and that overflowing kindness and affection 
which seems a part of her nature. We were at first con- 
ducted into the Drawing room, which opens on the back 
Portico and thus commands a view through the whole 
house, which is surrounded with an extensive lawn, as 
green as in spring, the lawn is enclosed with fine trees, 
chiefly forest, but interspersed with weeping willows and 
other ornamental trees, all of most luxuriant growth and 
vivid verdure. It was a beautiful scene. The drawing- 
room walls are covered with pictures, some very fine, 
from the ancient masters, but most of them portraits of 
our most distinguished men, six or eight by Stewart. 
The mantelpiece, tables in each corner and in fact 
wherever one could be fixed, were filled with busts, and 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

groups of figures in plaster, so that this apartment had 
more the appearance of a museum of the arts than of a 
drawing room. It was a charming room, giving activity 
to the mind, by the historic and classic ideas that it 

* * * She drew Anna* on the sofa beside her and 
gave her half a dozen pretty books to look over, while 
drawing a french arm chair, or fauteuil (what charming- 
things they are!) close by her, I reclined at my ease, 
while we talked, — and oh how we did talk. We went 
over the last 20 years and talked of scenes long past and 
of persons far away or dead. These reminisenses were 
delightful. She certainly has always been, and still is 
one of the happiest of human beings. Like myself, she 
seems to have no place about her which could afford a 
lodgement for care or trouble. Time seems to favour 
her as much as fortune. She looks young and she says 
she feels so. I can believe her, nor do I think she will 
ever look or feel like an old woman. They are seldom 
alone, but have a succession of visitors, among whom 
are a great many foreigners. Few visit our country 
without visiting Monticello and Montpelier. She gave 
me an entertaining account of the visit of the three 
members of parliament, who passed several days with 
them. I could scarcely credit my senses, when dinner 
was announced and I found it to be four o'clock! So 
rapidly had the morning passed away. We did not rise 
from table until six o'clock. Mr. Madison was chief 
speaker, and his conversation was a stream of history, 
and continued so until ten o'clock, when we separated 
for the night, so rich in sentiments and facts, so enlivened 
by anecdotes and epigramatic remarks, so frank and 
confidential as to opinions on men and measures, that it 
had an' interest and charm, which the conversation of 
few men now living, could have. He spoke of scenes 
in which he himself had acted a conspicuous part and of 
great men, who had been actors in the same theatre. No 
common-places. Every sentence he spoke, was worthy 

*Mrs. Smith's daughter. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of being written down. The formation and adoption of 
the Constitution. The Convention and first congress, 
the characters of their members and the secret debates. 
Franklin, Washington, Hamilton, John Adams, Jefferson, 
Jay, Patrick Henry, and a host of other great men were 
spoken of and characteristic anecdotes of all related. It 
was living History! When I retired for the night, I 
felt as if my mind was full to over- flowing, as if it could 
not contain all the ideas it had received, as if it had 
feasted to satiety. And this entertaining, interesting 
and communicative personage, had a single stranger or 
indifferent person been present, would have been mute, 
cold and repulsive. After dinner, we all walked in the 
Portico, (or piazza, which is 60 feet long, supported on 
six lofty pillars) until twilight, then retreated to the 
drawing room, where we sat in a little group close to- 
gether and took our coffee while we talked. Some of 
Mr. M.'s anecdotes were very droll, and we often laughed 
very heartily. * * * He retains all the sportiveness 
of his character, which he used to reveal now and then 
to those whom he knew intimately, and Mrs. M. says he 
is as fond of a frolic and of romping with the girls as 
ever. His little blue eyes sparkled like stars from under 
his bushy grey eye-brows and amidst the deep wrinkles 
of his poor thin face. Nor have they lost their look of 
mischief, that used to lurk in their corners, and which 
vanished and gave place to an expression ever solemn, 
when the conversation took a serious turn. 

In the course of the evening, at my request Mrs. M. 
took me to see old Mrs. Madison. She lacks but 3 
years of being a hundred years old. When I enquired 
of her how she was, "I have been a blest woman," she 
replied, "blest all my life, and blest in this my old age. 
I have no sickness, no pain; excepting my hearing, my 
senses are but little impaired. I pass my time in reading 
and knitting." Something being said of the infirmities 
of old age. "You," said she, looking at Mrs. M., "you 
are my mother now, and take care of me in my old age." 
I felt much affected by the sight of this venerable 
















Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

woman. Her face is not much wrinkled as her son's 
who is only 77 years old.* 

Said Mrs. Madison to Anna, while on the portico: 
"Come, let us run a race. I do not believe you can 
out run me. Madison and I often run races here, when 
the weather does not allow us to walk." And adds Mrs. 
Smith — "She really did run very briskly, — it was more 
than I could do, had I attempted it."f * * * 

Captain Tingey was the first commandant at the 
Washington Navy Yard; he was commandant until his 
death. The Captain's mental strength never weakened; 
— to the Secretary of the Navy, February 2, 1829,. he 
writes : 

But justice to myself in my present infirm state, and 
approximately the close of my seventy-eighth year, I am 
incapable of the lively energy of a youthful seaman and 
require some relaxation, at least from the multiplicity 
of cares these double duties require. I am therefore 
constrained to solicit your further endeavors to have me 
released from the duties of the agency altogether. 

And, in the same month on the twenty third day, at 
the tenth hour in the forenoon he was released from all 
the duties, he heretofore had so honorably performed. 
And on the next day, Wednesday, at twelve, meridian, 
with soldier's rites, he was laid at rest. And the Navy 
Department directed a requiem of thirteen minute guns, 
that the flag fly at half mast and that the officers wear 
crape, t 

*Mrs. Eleanor Conway Madison, the mother, died in 1829 at the 
age of 98 years. 

fForty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 
XHistory of the Washington Navy Yard. H. B. Hibben. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

To her nephew, Richard D. Cutts : 

I admired the presents you sent me very much, and 
thank you more for the kindness that induced you to 
send them. When I was in Richmond I bought you a 
handsome knife, but not having an opportunity to send 
it I think best to inclose you a dollar to buy you one in 
Washington for my sake — please do so and be assured 
that I never can forget your affection, but that I recip- 
rocate it with all my heart — I am laying up some things 
for you which I know will please you when we meet. 
Your cousins are all intending to write you. Dolly wrote 
you by the last post, and I helped her out with bad poetry 
— still it would show you our great regard. I think 
you'll lose your heart with one of your fair cousins when 
you have them all before you to choose from — your 
mamma's namesake is a sweet one and very sensible. 

From Charles Roberts Collection in the Haverford 

College, Haverford, Pa. 

I am very grateful for your charming letter my dear 
friend, and for those good wishes which we received 
with the warm affection, which Mr. Madison and myself 
have ever felt for you. 

The handsome Oration spoken by your son has been 
read by us both with admiration of its composition, and 
feelings flattered by his partiality for the subject of it. 

I must keep it for his sake, whom we hope to see, one 
day, in the brilliant career of his Father. Your kind 
promise of visiting us, this year will not be forgotten. 
The fulfilment of it would be a high gratification to us. 

I rejoice to hear from you, that our dear Mrs. Mason 
is so nearly well — please to present me to Mrs. Murray 
and to her, as one who can never forget them. With 
my best regards for Mr. Rush and kisses for your sweet 
little ones, most truly yours 

D. P Madison 
Montpellier July 1829— 

Mrs. Rush 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Richmond August 10th 1829. 
M r and M" Madison 

My Dear Sir and Madam 

Permit me to assure you, I was very much gratified, 
that your District had honored the state so far, as to 
place you, Sir, in the Convention for altering, or amend- 
ing the Constitution. It is at the same time with sincere 
sorrow and concern I have learnt ; that the state of your 
health has, since that time, been impaired by indisposition ; 
but I earnestly hope; that it is already completely re- 
stored, or will be at least so far improved, as to enable 
you to take your seat in the Convention, and to afford 
that important service to the state, which it justly an- 
ticipates from your weight of character, superior intelli- 
gence, and long experience in public affairs. — I beg leave 
also, Sir, and Madam, to assure you that I still recollect, 
with affectionate sensibilities your kind attentions during 
a long personal acquaintance, and that it would now 
afford me great pleasure, if yourselves and inmates 
would consent to become members of my family, and 
to accept a chamber in the government house during the 
session of the approaching Convention. That position 
would afford you some accommodations, which it might 
be difficult to obtain in any house of public entertain- 
ment in the City. It is retired, near the Capitol, and 
woud afford you opportunities of receiving visits from 
your numerous friends, with more ease and convenience 
to yourselves, than perhaps elsewhere. Permit me to 
press your acceptance of this invitation, and to assure 
you in so doing, you would afford the sincerest pleasure 
to myself, as well as to every member of my family. 

Be pleased, Sir, and Madam, to accept my respectful 
and friendly regards. 

Wm B. Giles 
The Honorable 

James Madison & Lady 

At the Constitutional Convention, October 5, 1829, 

Mr. Madison nominated Mr. Monroe for the -presiding 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

officer. He and Mr. Marshall, the Chief Justice, es- 
corted Mr. Monroe to the chair. Mr. Madison made a 
statesmanlike address. It was a convention of great 
minds. Its proceedings were fully reported. Mr. and 
Mrs. Madison were the guests of her Cousin, Sallie 

Anne Royall, authoress and editress, was a spectator. 
She makes this "pen-portrait."* 

Mr. Madison is a small, aged man, with a remark- 
able small head and face, and keen vigorous countenance. 
He was dressed in a plain Quaker coloured coat, and his 
hair was powdered; he was leaning forward, and 
seemed to listen to the debates with deep attention. 

Sarah Harvey Porter in The Life and Times of Anne 

American biography is well peppered with descrip- 
tions of charming Dolly Madison, but not one among 
them all shows her in a pleasanter light than does the 
following where she is seen wiping the dust from the 
feet of a tired old woman who had trudged far to see 

Anne Royall — in Southern Tours: 

Early one morning I called for a hack to wait on 
Mrs. Madison, as she lived some distance from my 
residence. The ruffian who keeps the hacks at the 
Union, said he must have $1 for hitching, and $2 an 
hour — I took it afoot ! Mr. and Mrs. Madison boarded 
at Hon. A. Stevenson's, a mile and a quarter; but I 
walked three miles before I found it. The ignorance 
of the people is such, that they can only tell where the 
Church, the Prison, and the Court-room is; after walk- 
ing my very soul out, I found the house, and was quite 
mortified, that Mrs. Madison was not at home. "Where 

*Mrs. Royall's Southern Tour. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

is Mr. Stevenson?" "Mr. Stevenson is very ill, and his 
family cannot leave him!" "Where is Mrs. Madison's 
servant?" The servant was out — I spoke this with 
spirit, and desired them to say "Mrs. R. was in the 
house." Mrs. Madison heard it and sent word she 
would be down in a minute. I listened for her step, and 
never was I more astonished. I expected to have seen 
a little old dried up woman; instead of this, a tall, 
young, active, elegant woman stood before me. "This 
Mrs. Madison — impossible;" she was the self-same lady 
of whom I had heard more anecdotes than any family 
in Europe or America. No wonder she was the idol 
at Washington — at once in possession of every thing 
that could enoble woman. But chiefly she captivates 
by her artless though warm affability — affectation and 
her, are farther asunder than the poles; and her fine 
full eye and countenance, displays a majestic brilliancy 
found in no other face. She is a stout, tall, straight 
woman, muscular but not fat, and as active on her feet 
as a girl. Her face is large, full and oval, rather dark 
than fair, her eye is dark, large and expressive ; her face 
is not handsome nor does it appear ever to have been so. 
It is diffused with a slight tinge of red, and rather wide 
in the middle — but her power to please, the irresistable 
grace of her every movement sheds such a charm over 
all she says and does, that it is impossible not to admire 
her. She was dressed in a plain black silk dress, and 
wore a silk checked turban on her head, and black glossy 
curls. But to witness how active she would run out — 
bring a glass of water, wipe the mud off of my shoes 
and tie them — seeing I was fatigued she pressed me with 
much earnestness to await dinner — I was greatly dis- 
appointed in her size and height, but much more in her 
youthful appearance. She appears young enough for 
Mr. Madison's daughter; there is more indulgence in 
her eye than any mortal's." 

Mrs. Madison again alludes to the apprehension about 
her nephew, Walter. She discloses her interest in what 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

is passing in the world; her preference for the place 
where she reigned at the head and in the hearts; her 
tastes in literature; and, her match-making proclivity — 
the regret she expresses at the failure of young Van 
Buren's ouverture. 

To her niece, Dolly Cutts: 

Montpellier, March 10, 1830. 

I am now seated, pen in hand, my sweet niece, to 
write you, though not in the humor for the success I 
desire in producing an amusing letter such as mine 
should be in answer to yours. 

Imagine, if you can, a greater trial to the patience 
of us farmers than the destruction of a radiant patch of 
green peas by frost ! It came last night on the skirts of 
a storm; and while I was lamenting that our dear mid- 
shipman, Walter, should ever be exposed to such winds, 
my young adventurers at home were completely wrecked 
off their moorings ! But away with complaints, other 
patches equally radiant will arise, and I will mourn no 
longer over a mess of peas or pottage, but would rather 
meet you somewhere, or hear about your last party. I 
had, indeed, my "quantum sufficit" of gayety in Rich- 
mond, but what I enjoyed most was the quiet but 
thorough hospitality of the inhabitants among whom I 
should like to spend my winters. Washington, if my 
old friends were still there, would no doubt be my pref- 
erence; but I confess I do not admire contention in any 
form, either political or civil. In my quiet retreat I like 
to hear of what is going on, and therefore hope, my 
dear, you will not be timid in telling me, though your 
statements shall be seen by no one else. I wish that 
circumstances would have permitted you to have ac- 
cepted Mr. V. B.'s invitation, but I cannot doubt you 
had a good reason for declining. By the bye, do you 
ever get hold of a clever novel, new or old, that you 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

could send me ? I bought Cooper's last, but did not care 
for it, because the story was so full of horrors. 

Adieu, my dearest Dolly, think of me as your own 
friend as well as aunt, and write as often as you can to 

Yours affectionately, 

Dolly P. Madison.* 

It is delicately, most delicately put, by Mr. Anthony 
Morris. Robert Morris, the Financier of the American 
Revolution, and others of his standard, were confined 
at the Debtors' Prison in Prune street, Philadelphia, 
until their friends paid their debts or let them die. 
John Payne Todd now from experience knew what he 
might have known from reading for he may have taken 
from Mrs. Smith's book rack her copy of Dr. Dodd's 
Thoughts in Prison and read: 

Harsh on its sullen hinge 

Grates the dread door; the massy bolts respond 

Tremendous to the surly Keeper's touch. 

The dire keys clang: with movement dull and slow 

While their behest the ponderous locks perform: 

And, fastened firm, the object of their care 

Is left to Solitude, — to Sorrow left! 

Dear Madam 

I have to mention to you a most painful subject from 
a sense of duty to my most valued friend your excellent 
sister, to whom, or to M r Madison, I cannot write di- 
rectly, without an intimation from you, who know many 
circumstances with which I am unacquainted. You will 
anticipate that my reference is to M r Payne Todd, whose 
long confinement in Philad a you are no doubt appriz d 
of; He is now I am credibly informed, most anxious 
to return to Montpelier ; to enable him to do this, $200 

*Mcmoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

in cash, and an af sumption of $400 pyble at any con- 
venient future day are said to be requird. 

* * * 

Anthony Morris. 
May 19th 1830 

To Mrs. Cutts 

The germ of love is change. Love makes the eye 
brighter, the heart faster, the step lighter and all about 
more beautiful. The affected can see in the adored the 
most beautiful of mortals and worthy to associate with 
the gods. Mrs. Madison tells much better the change 
that love makes. 

To her niece, Dolly Cutts: 

Montpellier, November, 1830. 

Dearest Niece, — I have been so much engaged in the 
book you kindly sent by the last post, that I have 
scarcely left myself time to thank you for it by this. 
I will, however, take an early opportunity to show my 
gratitude by a longer letter. 

If you can send me the "Romance of History" I will 
be very glad, and will make the proper dispatch in the 
perusal of it. Governor Barbour is here and will stay 
some time. Phillippa does not expect to see Washing- 
ton again for some time, and regrets it much. Her 
father is now a judge and she a recluse. I find you 
have no idea yet of the improvement love can make, or 
you would not surmise that another must have had to 
do with the courting for John. After he became ac- 
quainted with S. Carter, his tongue twanged as if sent 
from a bow! Last winter when I witnessed his atten- 
tions to her, and heard him talk and laugh like Gany- 
mede, I knew it was Cupid's act, by the color. She is 
a sweet girl and I hope you will see her before long. 
You and my dear Mary. 

Ever your affectionate aunt, 

Dolly P. Madison.* 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 




HE letter which follows bears the earliest date of 
a letter to the niece Mary. Mary at that time 
was sweet sixteen. 

To her niece, Mary Estelle Elizabeth Cutts : 

Montpellier, January 5, 1831. 

Dearest Mary, — Yours, ending on the 2d of Janu- 
ary, came to relieve my oppressed heart with the tidings 
of your beloved mother's recovery from that extreme 
illness, under which I knew or feared she. was laboring. 

I had written a week ago this day to Dolly and one to 
you, inclosed to your father, which could hardly have 
reached you, or you would have yielded to my pleadings 
for that single line by every post which would tell me 
your mamma is better and has a prospect of regaining 
her health. To secure this, my dearest girls, you must 
help her in every way you can, keep her room quiet, and 
herself free from the slightest agitation or uneasiness. 
The nervousness of which Dr. Sim speaks must be 
attended to with all your delicacy of thought and con- 
duct; her sufferings have caused it, and now, no one 
should approach her who is not sensible of the impor- 
tance of smiles and comfort to one who has been so 
near the grave. May Heaven sustain and support her 
for many years to come to bless you with her protecting 

I enclose "The Oxonians," which I could not read, 
while my heart was oppressed by fears for you all. We 
are well and send love. 

Your own aunt, 

Dollv P. Madison.* 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

To her niece, Mary Cutts : 

Montpellier, September 18, 1831. 

My dearest Mary, — I hasten to answer your nice 
letter in order to obtain your forgiveness about the mis- 
laid letter; I fear Beckey may have used it to kindle the 
fire she was so anxious about for her master, and as far 
as I can discover collected everything in the way of 
paper on my table this morning. It was so short I hope 
you can recollect enough of it to write it again for your 
amiable correspondent, to whom give my assurance of 
love. I am so grieved that your mamma is not well, 
but trust it proceeds from fatigue. Do persuade her to 
go to see Mrs. B. and not to worry about household 
cares. I hope the alarm of "insurrections" is over in 
the city, though every one should be on guard after this. 
I am quiet, hearing little about it, and quite helpless if 
in danger. Tell Mr. Trist I send him a few leaves, if 
not the whole flower, of his dear lady (Cape Jessamine), 
who is now blooming, when all her contemporaries have 
changed color and are passing away, emblematic of her 
good disposition and heart, whose fragrance will last 
until the end. 

Your Uncle Madison still wears the bead ring you 
placed on his finger, and I see him look at it every now 
and then without saying anything. 

My eyes are troubling me, still I write on a great 
deal of nonsense. To-morrow I expect a large party 
from Richmond and the lower country to stay with us. 
I feel very grateful to all those ladies who are so kind 
to your mother while she is ailing, and could love the 
blackest Indian who was good to her; indeed, it seems 
to me I would like to bribe the whole world to make 
her well. Payne is on the wing again with three gentle- 
men in his train. 

Adieu, dearest niece. Ever yours, 

Dolly P. Madison.* 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

To Mrs. Frances D. Lear : 

I hasten to thank you beloved friend (as well as very 
sore eyes will permit me) for your interesting letter, of 
the 26th in which you tell me my dear sister is on the re- 
covery — I pray that it may be the case, and that she 
may be long spared to her family and to me! I have 
as you suppose been miserable about her, and tho the 
girls have been good in writing, and she also when able, 
I have found all communications too slow for my con- 
stant anxiety — My dear Husband is still confined to his 
bed — In addition to a disabling Rheumatism throughout 
the winter, he has had a bilious fever, which has re- 
duced him so much that he can only walk from one 
bed to another. I never leave him, more than a few 
minutes at a time, and have not left the enclosure around 
our house for the last eight months on account of his 
continued indisposition, concerning which, friends at a 
distance, have rec d but too favorable reports. — Our 
Physicians have advised the warm springs for M r Mad- 
ison, and we hoped to have him taken there, but as he 
could not travel unlefs conveyed in his bed, we dare not 
think of it for the present. — Now my precious friend I 
would exprefs my deep regret that any obstacle should 
exist to our enjoyment of your society this summer. 
No persons should I be more delighted to see here, than 
yourself, your son & daughter and I will still indulge 
the hope, that my Husband will be well enough for this 
gratification, & my sister sufficiently recovered to come 
with you, before the Winter throws its barriers between 
us. — I must ever love the kind friends of my sister, 
yourself, M r s Bomford, M™ Clay — have been as sisters 
to her — and some others also, of whom she speaks with 
great sensibility Doct r Sim* especially are enroll'd by me 
on a grateful memory! We hear at a distance of the 
alarming cholera, but as yet, no report of its existence 
in our State. — Be pleased to present my affectionate 

*Dr. Thomas Sim, when President of Medical Society died of 
epidemic cholera, September 13, 1832. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

love to M™ Randolph & Mrs Trist, & tell them I shall 
be proud of my new cousin Ellen — 

Accept M r Madisons best wishes — & my son's best 
respects, with the long, & sincere attachment of your 

D. P. Madison 
Mrs Lear. 

To her niece, Mary Cutts : 

Montpellier, December, 1831. 

My Own Dear Niece, — I have been the most discon- 
solate of persons these three or four days, and all be- 
cause of a violent toothache. The book you mention 
I will keep unless you say no, while I read the second 
volume, and send them both to you by Walter, who is 
summoned to Philadelphia on the first Monday in Janu- 
ary, and will stop in Washington to see you. 

In my last I informed you that Walter and Payne 
had been detained abroad by bad weather, but now they 
are safe and sound with us, and we have played chess 
and talked together all this time without the appearance 
of ennui. Thank my dear Dolly for her kind letter; 
and I rejoice in her recovery, which is due in a great 
measure to the judicious nursing of a good mother. 

I hope you will soon be going to parties, and give me 
a detailed account of what is going forward amongst 
the various characters in Washington. 

I have so long been confined by the side of my dear 
sick husband, never seeing or hearing outside of his 
room, that I make a dull correspondent. 

Your uncle is better now than he was three days ago, 
and I trust will continue to mend, but his poor hands 
are still sore, and so swollen as to be almost useless, and 
so I lend him mine. The music-box is playing beside 
me, and seems well adapted to solitude, as I look out at 
our mountains, white with snow, and the winter's wind 
sounding loud and cold. I hope you will take more 
than usual care of yourself this weather, and wish I 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

could cover you with furs; but ah! if I dare indulge in 
wishes — 

Good night, my love. Your fond aunt, 

Dolly Madison.* 

Mrs. Madison to Edward Coles: 

Montpelleir 4. March 1832 

Your interesting letter dear cousin of Feby 22 d claims 
our best thanks and I hasten to give you in return the 
assurance that my Husband continues to get better — 
The tedious disease which has confined him so long, is 
passing gradually away, and he now looks nearly as well 
as usual — has a fine appetite and good spirits. We of 
his household have also recovered from indisposition 
and like the birds, are busy in sun shine, hope, and spring- 
weather. Our peas are green and flourishing and all 
our rural treasures are hailed with the freshness of 
spirit which is brought to the enjoyment of gay assem- 
blies — tho not like those which might be compared to 
odour fled, as soon as shed, in morning's winged dream 
but as our admiral Paulding says — "Like the witching 
influence over the hearts of those who, tho they have 
sat at the worlds great Banquet, still preserve or relish 
far more wholesome aliment and plainer luxuries." 

I am sorry your winter in New York has not been so 
pleasant as you anticipated but Washington may, and 
no doubt will indemnify you I hear of many fine girls 
being there, and perhaps your kindred spirit hover's 
near the Domicil of your sister. I shall write to cousin 
Sally by this post, and hope that Mr. Stevenson and 
herself will call on us, on their return to Richmond— - 
you had better come with them and cheat Illinois, the 
pigs and Prairies yet a little longer of their victim. 

But, where ever you go dear cousin, believe me our 
affectionate wishes for your happiness will follow you. 

The narrative you gave us concerning "the little grey 
man" I. R. — y is indeed curious and I think Mr. G — s 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

lazy fit, is likely to withhold the case too long, from the 
world's knowledge 

To her sister, Mrs. Anna Cutts : 

Montpellier, August 2, 1832. 

Beloved Sister Anna, — Mrs. Mason has just written 
me to say you are a little better, and those dear 
daughters of yours, Mary and Dolly, whom I shall ever 
feel are my own children, have often consoled me by 
their letters since you were unable to write. Your hus- 
band and boys too have written frequently, — all in that 
affectionate feeling towards you which manifested their 
deep love ; and although I cannot see or assist you ' in 
your long and painful sickness, yet am I very thankful 
to the Almighty for his favors in bestowing such de- 
voted friends as have surrounded your pillow. 

My dear husband is recovering, I hope, slowly, though 
still confined to his bed. He speaks of you to me every 
day with all the partiality and love of a tender brother, 
and ardently hopes that we may be long spared to each 

Mrs. Clay and her husband did not call to see me as 
we expected. They understood that General Jackson 
was at Montpelier and passed on to Governor Barbour's. 
The next day Mr. Clay came for a few hours, but did 
not meet the President here. I regretted much not see- 
ing Mrs. Clay, as she would have talked to me of you. 

Do, dear sister, strive to get well and strong for my 
sake and your children's; what should we do without 
you! As soon as my eyes are well I will write to dear 
Mrs. B.* In the meantime offer her my love and thanks 
for all her goodness to you. 

Adieu, my dear, ever and always, 
Your loving sister, 
Dolly P. Madison.f 

♦Portrait of Clara Baldwin Bomford, wife of Col. George 
Bom ford, reproduced in The Story of Kalorama. — Corra Bacon- 

t Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Nature is infinite that it allows not comparison in 
bereavement. No parent says I would preferably spare 
this daughter or that son. No child says I would lose 
rather the father or the mother. No brother and no 
sister breathes if it must be one, let that sister or that 
brother precede. Nature has made the very thought 
horrible. Anna Payne as maiden and Anna Payne 
Cutts as matron had been to Dolly Payne, Dolly Payne 
Todd and Dolly Payne Madison, daughter, sister and 
companion. Other bereavements to Mrs. Madison might 
to the limit be severe yet none more severe. 

The illness of the sister had been protracted. In that 
there was warning of an earthly separation and in pro- 
traction, too, there was hope. In the fluctuations the 
rise to restoration proved no more that the futile grasp- 
ing of hope. 

That time and this time — at this writing an even 
eighty years, in the cycles of centuries naught, — what 
a difference in availability! In the year 1832, the time 
in travel, between Washington and Montpellier was 
several days. Now by rail, the time is reckoned in hours ; 
by telegraph and by telephone, in seconds. With present 
facility, the surviving sister might a ministering angel 
have been; she might have smoothed the pillow and 
caressed the brow ; she might have had the last glance at 
going and the first of peace, the emancipation from earthly 
disturbances. With present facility, the bereaved sister 
would not have written : 

Where are her remains? I will myself write my 
gratitude to the kind friends who were privileged to do 
what I could not for my lamented sister. 

All the detail the writer gathers is that from Mrs. 
Thornton's diary: 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Anna Cutts, Mrs. Madison's beloved sister died 
the morning of August 4. 1832. The disorder was 
dropsy of the heart. 

And the advertised funeral notice in the Daily Na- 
tional Intelligencer, Tuesday, December 7, 1832: 

In this City, on the morning of the 4th Inst. Anna, 
wife of Honorable Richard Cutts, late 2nd Comptroller 
of the U, S. Treasury. 

The gentle declining makes appropriate the Death-bed 
lines of the gentle poet, Hood : 

Our very hopes belied our fears, 

Our fears our hopes belied; 
We thought her dying while she slept. 

And sleeping when she died. 

Anna Payne was portrayed by Gilbert Stuart. This 
portrait has, as a background, a caricature of Stuart, 
himself, created and allowed to remain as a jest. The 
portrait is reproduced in Social Life in the Early Re- 

Mrs. Cutts was born in Virginia, November 11, 1779. 

Montpellier, August 5, 1832. 

Dear Brother, — The heart of your miserable sister 
mourns with you and for your dear children. 

Come to us as soon as you can, and bring them all 
with you; I am deeply interested in them as if they were 
my own. Where are her remains? I will myself write 
my gratitude to the kind friends who were privileged to 
do what I could not for my lamented sister. 

Mr. Madison partakes in our sorrows, and in my wish 
to see you all here. Show this to Dolly and Mary, 




Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

please, as I cannot write to them at this moment. Yours 
came yesterday. 

Affectionately your sister, 

Dolly P. Madison.* 

Around the memory of Marcia Burnes is a halo. She 
was the "pretty and pleasant little woman" of Washing- 
ton Irving. She was the daughter of David Burnes, 
esquire, or "Davy Burnes." He was of the original 
proprietors. His tract, he inherited.! It lie on the 
bank of the Potomac and extended far inland. The 
Tyber Creek or Goose Creekt ran through it ; and on 
the wide mouth of the creek, of name high flown or low, 
was his cottage. He was according to the sketch 
writers, Scotch and stubborn. If ever he had an an- 

"Wha hae wi' Wallace bled" 

by his time in the line trans fered to America, he lost 
the Caledonian dialect for his ancestral emigrant was 
his grandfather. He is set down as a specimen of stub- 
bornness because President Washington wrote of him as 
"obstinate Mr. Burns." Sometimes in dictionary Eng- 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

f'Beall's Levels," two hundred and twenty-five acres, was 
granted to Colonel Vivian Beall in 1703. A portion of this tract, 
with some vacant ground added, was the property of David Burnes 
* * *. It was patented to him on a re-survey in 1774, as the 
eldest son and heir at law of his father, James Burnes, for whom 
it was re-surveyed in 1769, and who had died before obtaining the 
patent. James Burnes, the father of David, occupied the land as a 
tenant for two years before purchasing it from Henry Massey. — 
Old Georgetown. Hugh T. Taggart. 

Jin the early years was a wharf on the creek immediately south 
of the present Municipal Building. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

lish and sometimes in imitation Scotch, Mrs. Burnes is 
quoted as saying to the President: 

I suppose you think that people here are going to 
take every grist that comes from you as pure grain ; but 
what would you have been if you had not married the 
rich Widow Custis? 

The rude remark attributed to Mr. Burnes has been 
attributed to others. It was a scurrility of the times. 
The diary of President Washington positively proves that 
the incident is without probability of fact. At six in the 
evening at his lodging place, Suter's tavern, the President 
addressed with the other landholders, Mr. Burnes* ; and 
on the forenoon of the next day, they mutually agreed 
and entered into articles. Mr. Burnes was the second 
to sign. Now, Mr. Burnes, was accustomed to decide 
upon argument — for was he not a magistrate — but of 
that further on — and perhaps he did avail himself of the 
chance to prove that he equally well could argue at as be 
argued to. Perhaps, Mr. Burnes, did inherit a slight 
strain of Scottish stubbornness but it was only a pleas- 
antry of the President to the Secretary of State, from 
Mt. Vernon, 3 1 March : 

To these considerations all the principal landholders 
* * * will readily come into the measure, even the 
obstinate Mr. Burnes. 

David Burnes recognized refinement; as he, himself, 
was refined. He had reverence for what Sir William 
Blackstone calls "a rule of civil conduct prescribed by the 
supreme power in the state." He was himself a justice 
of the peace and sat in judgment and dispensed even- 

* March 29, 1791. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

handed justice with preambles to his decision delivered 
with solemnity and with awe-inspiring halts in his talk. 
His son he destined for the law but in his twentieth year 
he died and on his tablet was cut: 

He was a youth amiable & intelligent 
who promised fair to become 
an honor to his friends, and 
an ornament to his Country. 

In Georgetown was Marcia's preliminary schooling. 
In Baltimore, the finishing education; the while, living 
in the family of the eccentric luminary of the law, Luther 
Martin.* At the same time, John, her brother, was suc- 
cessfully studying law in Mr. Martin's office. Marcia 
was ten when her brother died, 1792; and seventeen 
when her father died, 1799. 

Marcia inherited the entire estate subject to her 
mother's dower, f She had beauty and grace and the 
additional magnet — money. In select society was Mis- 
tress Burnes and Miss Burnes in the earliest days as 
Mrs. Thornton's record of daily doings shows. 

John Peter Van Ness came to Congress for the term, 
1801 '3. He was a lawyer by preparation. He had 
ancestry and attractiveness and won over the rivals, the 
merry Marcia. The anniversary of her twentieth birth- 
day was her wedding day, May 9, 1802. 

Mr. and Mrs. Van Ness, at first, made their home on 
Pennsylvania avenue on the site of the present 1109 and 
1111. Mr. Van Ness, across the way, D and Twelfth 
streets, built two substantial mansions. In the mansion 
next to the corner did he establish himself and his youth- 

*Portrait reproduced in Social Life in the Republic. 
fMiss Burnes' guardian for legal purposes was William Mayne 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ful wife.* From there to Miss Mary Fairlee, Wash- 
ington Irving, July 7, 1807, wrote : 

I am now scribbling in the parlor of Mr. Van Ness, 
at whose house I am on a visit. 

And it was there, January 1811, Irving found himself 
"delightfully moored," "in clover" and "a lucky dog." 

The citizens had complimented Mr. Van Ness by 
electing him a Major of their militia and the President 
formally commissioned him. And Congress upon in- 
vestigation decided he had forfeited his seat as a Rep- 
resentative by the acceptance of the trifling military 
honor and accepted his resignation. The Major was 
happily anchored in Washington and it did not matter.f 

Mrs. Van Ness had at heart the Orphan Asylum. 
Mrs. Smith writes : i 

23, Novr. 1817. 

* * * Few persons are admitted to the great house 
and not a single lady has as yet seen Mrs. Monroe, Mrs. 
Cutts excepted, and a committee from the Orphan Asy- 
lum, on which occasion Mrs. Van Ness first called to 
know when Mrs. M. would receive the committee. 

The mansion in Mansion Square, 17th and 18th, B 
and C streets, n.w. was designed by Latrobe and built 
under his direction. The date of completion is variously 
stated from 1816 to 1820. It is said to have been in 
its prime the most elegant residence in the United States. 

"-"December 1, 1804. 

1202 D Street. He rented the corner house, 
fjanuary 28, 1805, promoted to Lieutenant Colonel commandant: 
of the First Legion of the Militia, D. C, from Major. 
XForty Years of Washington Society. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

It was ornated with carving and sculpture by artists of 
celebrity. It had hot and cold water in every chamber; 
the first dwelling with these conveniences. It had spa- 
cious storage underneath for the vintages. Mansion 
Square was a park and in it and at the elbow of the 
stately structure was the Burnes cottage. With the 
grandeur of the mansion was apace the hospitality that 
ruled. General Van Ness contributed courtliness and 
Mrs. Van Ness, sprightliness. The General may some- 
times have thought of that slight touch of Scotch in 
Marcia, and thinking of that touch and the slight Marcia 
he had the thought, 

She is a winsome wee thing, 
She is a handsome wee thing, 
She is a bonny wee thing, 
This sweet wee wife o' mine. 

To the General and Mrs. Van Ness was born a 
daughter, June 12, 1803. She returned from Phila- 
delphia, 1820, highly educated. 

Mrs. Kate Kearney Henry says: 

In 1821 Ann Elbertina married Arthur Middleton 
of South Carolina. His grandfather was a signer of 
the Declaration of Independence. He was Secretary of 
Legation at Madrid when Cornelius P. Van Ness, an 
uncle of his wife's, was United States Minister to Spain. 
Few weddings of the present day equal and none surpass 
the elegance and munificence of that occasion; there were 
six bridesmaids and groomsmen. The former were 
Miss Casenove, who married General Archibald Hen- 
derson, Commandant at the Marine Corps; Miss Fran- 
ces P. Lewis, a daughter of Lawrence Lewis (Washing- 
ton's nephew), who married General Butler, U. S. A.; 
Miss Laura Wirt, daughter of William Wirt, who mar- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ried Thomas Randall, Esq.; Miss Mason, who married 
her cousin, George Mason of Gunston; Miss Lee, who 
married Dr. Bailey Washington of the U. S. N., and 
Miss Mary Ann Kerr, a niece of Mrs. Peter Hagner. 
The festivities lasted nearly a month; each bridesmaid 
gave a party; each groomsman, a dinner. 

Mrs. Middleton died, November 22, 1823. "In giv- 
ing birth to a daughter, she fell a victim to a malignant 
fever, which had already proved fatal to many other 
ladies of the district in a similar situation." The be- 
reavement affected Mrs. Van Ness beyond rebound. A 
mausoleum of graceful architecture, circular and colon- 
naded, patterned by George Hadfield, a replica of the 
Temple of Vesta at Tivoli, near Rome, was built. The 
location was H between Ninth and Tenth streets, north- 
west, south side. It became known as the Mausoleum 
Square. About the mortuary monument were the 
Burnes graves of the generations.* 

Prior to 1826, the asylum was in a house on Seventh 
between H and I streets and was for girls only. Mrs. 
Van Ness made a munificent contribution to the Orphan 
Asylum, of which she was the First Directress; and 
before a large presence, she laid the corner stone of a 
capacious and suitable building which was erected ad- 
joining the sepulchre. This was the orphans' home 
from 1826 to 1866. 

Mrs. Van Ness made Mansion Square a paradise of 
plants, some arranged with care and some with careless- 
ness, all with taste. Her taste, not alone in nature, was 
shown in art — in paintings, in engravings and in sculp- 

*The Mausoleum— Historical Sketches of the Ten Miles Square. 
Jonathan Elliot. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ture. She had care for the domestics; of their every- 
day needs and pleasures and of their spiritual for every 
morning and evening she joined the corps in devotional 
exercises. Her ideas of propriety had not the latter- 
day liberty and she not to let the adopted daughter* with 
the other young ladies of Mme. Bonfil's French school 
appear in public entertainment arranged for them a 
May-day festival with a May-pole in the Square.f 

Mrs. Smith's letter:! 

Deer. 21st 1827 

* * * Next week there is to be a Fair, for the bene- 
fit of the Orphan Asylum. Every female in the City, 
I believe, from the highest to the lowest has been at 
work for it. Mrs. Van Ness spares neither time or ex- 

*Marcia Van Ness, daughter of Cornelius P., brother of Gen. 
Van Ness. Married Sir William Gore Ouseley, March 27, 1828. 

IMansion Square. In the plan of the City * * * was des- 
ignated as above, on a map made by N. King, Esq., formerly Sur- 
veyor of the City. * * * They improved at great expense, the 
Square in the best modern taste, both as to buildings and grounds — 
the latter of which, in addition to their lofty, dignified, paternal 
trees, are abundantly supplied with the best native and foreign fruits, 
including figs and grapes, and adorned with a great variety of orna- 
mental shrubs and plants, hedges, quincunxes, gravel walks, vines, 
bowers, &c. * * * The entrance into this walled square is 
through an iron gate between two lodges at the north east angle, 
fronting on the street and the President's Square. Thence there 
is a winding carriage way, skirted by ornamental trees, shrubbery 
and flowers, ascending an artificial mound at the north front of the 
house, and passing under an elegant, projecting stone portico at the 
door. This portico is the first of the kind, if not the only one, ex- 
cepting that recently erected at the President's House, in the United 
States. * * * Historical Sketches of the Ten Miles Square. 
Jonathan Elliot. 

%Forty Years of Washington Society. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Smith's letter :* 

August 17, (1832). 

* * * Poor Mrs. Cutts is no more. She has been 
long extremely ill. * * * Mrs. Van Ness, another 
contemporary in my social life, is now dangerously ill 
of fever. 

Mrs. Van Ness's life-object was the mitigation of 
others' misfortune. She was singularly self-unthink- 
ing. And at the end she said "Heaven bless you, my 
dear husband, never mind me. 

The notice in the Daily National Intelligencer, Mon- 
day, September 10, 1832: 

Died, after a severe and protracted illness at 10 
o'clock. A.M. yesterday, Mrs. Van Ness, wife of Gen. 
John P. Van Ness, Mayor of this City. Of this lady 
it may be emphatically said that she was the guardian 
of the Orphan and the benefactress of the Poor. 

The funeral discourse was delivered by the Rev. Wil- 
liam Hawley, Rector of St. John's Church. Excerpts 
from it, are: 

In early life she was distinguished for great spright- 
liness of mind, and amiableness of disposition, which 
seldom or never failed of winning the affections, and 
securing the esteem of all her acquaintance. The se- 
dateness of her manners gave dignity to her deportment, 
and genuine piety of her heart, as was exemplified more 
extensively in after life, placed her among the first in 
society, in the estimation of all who knew her intimately, 
or enjoyed the pleasure and honor of her acquaintance. 

The old cottage house, in which she was born, and 
in which her beloved parents ended their days, was an 
object of her deep veneration and regard — a true token 

* Forty Years of Washington Society. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of genuine filial affection — of undying love for the mem- 
ory of departed Parents, which dutiful children will 
always cherish to their latest breath. In this humble 
dwelling, over whose venerable roof wave the branches 
of trees planted by her dear Parents, and now stretching 
forth their kindred boughs to shelter it from the pelting 
storm, she had selected a secluded apartment, with ap- 
propriate arrangements for solemn meditation, to which 
she often retired and spent hours in quiet solitude and 
in holy communion with God and Saviour. 

On the evening of the 9th inst. at a meeting held at 
the Western Town House,* it was resolved that a me- 
morial be drawn and a plate executed. This inscription 
was engraved : 

The Citizens of Washington 
In testimony of their veneration for 

Departed Worth, 

Dedicate this plate to the memory of 

Marcia Van Ness, 

The excellent consort of J. P. Van Ness. 

If Piety, Charity, high principle and exalted worth, 
could have averted the shafts of Fate, she would still 
have remained among us, a bright example of every 
virtue. The hand of death has removed her to a purer 
and happier state of existence; and while we lament her 
loss, let us endeavor to emulate her virtues. 

A touching arrangement was that "on the arriving at 
the gate of the sepulchre, the little female orphans, in 
divided ranks, stood without, while the procession passed 
between them within the gate. The body being placed 
in front of the door of the Vault, these orphan children 
approached and strewed the bier with branches of the 
weeping willow." The tributes of the press, of organi- 
zations and of individuals are an appendix to the printed 

*S.W. corner of I and 20th Streets. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

discourse.* The poetical tribute in the appendix signed 
H. G. is said to have been written by Horatio Green- 
ough ;f the tribute on the mausoleum is in the same style. 

The splendid sepulchre is now on an eminence in Oak 
Hill Cemetery. On it are inscribed besides the poetical 
tribute, the birth, marriage and death dates of Mrs. Van 
Ness and daughter.! 

In the Washington City Orphan Asylum is a portrait 
of Mrs. Van Ness; the young children in it are repre- 
sentative of her beneficence and of the fostering care of 
that beneficent institution. It is a copy by the local 
artist, Charles Bird King after F. Alexander. § Mr. King 
put in the children. 

In The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished 

"Names that must not wither, though the earth 
Forgets her empires with a just decay," 

are one hundred and seventeen sketches illustrated each 
with a steel engraving and of these — five are of women : 
Martha Washington, Catherine M. Sedgwick, Marcia 
Van Ness, Dolly P. Madison and Abigail Adams. The 
sketch of Mrs. Van Ness is by C. Middleton.|| 

Mr. Madison was the President of the University of 
Virginia at the time of Mrs. Madison's letter of wifely 

*Funeral discourse on the death of Mrs. Marcia Van Ness. Rev. 
William Hawley. 

fSo said by George Alfred Townsend in Washington, Outside 
and Inside. 

$Gen. Van Ness died March 7, 1846. His remains went to the 
elaborate edifice where were his wife's. Marcia's father, mother 
and brother are interred in Rock Creek Cemetery. 

^History of the Rise and Progress of the Arts of Design. Wil- 
liam Dunlap. 

||See Marcia Burns. Famous American Belles of the Nineteenth 
Century. Virginia Tatnall Peacock. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

alarm. The letter indicates that Mr. Madison had the 
best possession possible — a sympathetic wife. 

Monday,— 9 O'Clock. 
My Beloved, — I trust in God that you are well again, 
as your letters assure me you are. How bitterly I regret 
not going with you ! Yours of "Friday midday" did 
not reach me till last evg. I felt so full of fear that 
you might relapse that I hastened to pack a few clothes 
and give orders for the carriage to be ready and the 
post waited for. This mor'g, happily the messenger 
has returned with your letter of yesterday, which revives 
my heart and leads me to hope you will be up at home 
on Wednesday night with your own affectionate nurse. 
If business sh'd detain you longer — or you sh'd feel un- 
well again, let me come for you. Mama and all are 
well. I enclose you one letter. The only one rec'd by 
yesterday's post, with two latest papers, to read on your 
journey back. I hope you rec'd my last of Thursday 
containing letters and papers. My mind is so anxiously 
occupied about you that I cannot write. May angels 
guard thee, my dear best friend! 

D . 

To James Madison, 

Tuesday mor'g. 

Mrs. Madison's advice for getting to the goal of per- 
fection and happiness — going with the virtues — has the 
certainty of foreknowledge; while the foretelling of the 
sibyl without disclosing the path has the danger of fail- 
ure by the loss of the way. 

To her niece, Mary: 

Montpellier, August 1, 1833. 

May your fortune, dearest Mary, be even better than 
the sybil's predictions. There is one secret, however, 
she did not tell you, and that is the power we all have in 

forming our own destinies. 


Lile and Letters of Dolly Madison 

We must press on that intricate path leading to per- 
fection and happiness, by doing all that is good and 
noble, before we can be taken under the silver wing of 
our rewarding angel; this I feel sure you will aim at, 
and succeed beyond doubt. It will not be necessary, 
dear child, to recapitulate all the virtues important to 
render us worthy and deserving of good fortune, because 
you know them well. 

I received your last letter just a week after the date 
on the inside, though the envelope was marked for the 

I hope the book I sent has been received, and that ere 
this you are ready to go on your visit to Cousin William. 
Present me affectionately to him and the girls; I should 
delight in seeing them all. Your uncle Madison mends 
in his health, but has many relapses. We have had 
more company this summer than I can enumerate, and 
though I enjoy it, my health has not been so good as 
usual, this morning I was not able to breakfast with my 
eight guests, but went for a drive with my dear husband 
and shall join them at dinner. 

Your affectionate aunt, 

Dolly P. Madison.* 

Mrs. Madison knew the little cares and crosses and 
chagrins of children ; she knew in what was their sports, 
their joys and their hopes — and she in that knowledge 
and the sympathizing use of it made a good guide to 

To her nephew, Richard D. Cutts: 

My dear Richard — I have been highly gratified by 
your letters and ought to have thanked you for them 
long ago — but you are too well acquainted with the ac- 
tive life I had, not to forgive my delinquency — and too 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

well afsured of my true affection for you to my silence 
proceeded from indifference to your correspondence. 

I rejoice at the recovery of Madison and his prospect 
of happinefs — Dear Thomas and lady, I hope to be 
acquainted with before very long. — You have returned 
to that excellent Institution, where advantages of every 
sort, await the good and studious — the few years will 
bring you to some profefsion — you must tell your unkle 
Madison & myself what you have fixed your mind upon 
as best suited to your views of independence and pros- 

Your unkle Jas & cousins eight in Va desire to be 
affectionately presented to you. When you visit us 
again, which I hope will be soon your cousins will have 
grown out of your knowledge — they go to a tolerable 
school & improve accordingly. 

— Adieu, for the present — accept from M r M and all 
of us best wishes & love. 

D P Madison 
Montpellier 4 Oct* - 1833 

To Mrs. J. Madison Cutts : 

Montpellier, Jan'y 25. 1834. 

Before this I trust my dearest Ellen has recovered 
from her cold and is in the enjoyment of all the agree- 
able society around her. 

I am very thankful for your letter. It was full of 
intelligence and amusement, and I hope you will continue 
to write me whenever your leisure will permit, as I can- 
not expect letters from our dear Madison, because all 
his attention is justly due to his fair bride. I received, 
however, his kind note enclosing the court plaster, for 
which Mr. M. offers you his thanks. The prints came 
safe to hand and Anna intends to acknowledge them for 
herself and sisters, who were all highly pleased with 

I am very proud of being remembered by the amiable 
friends you mention, and beg to be presented to them 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

when you see them again. You are so good as to wish 
I had been with you at the theatre, as well as at Mrs. 
Tayloe's party. I am sure I should have been delighted 
at both, but the next good thing to being with you is to 
receive accounts of all things from you. 

I have been so unlucky as to cut my finger, which 
makes it difficult to hold my pen, and which will explain 
to you my bad and short letter. Your cousin Payne 
offers you love and respect, and I think is inclined to 
speak for himself. 

Adieu, and believe me, your 

Affectionate aunt, 

D. P. Madison.* 

The eldest son of sister Anna, James Madison Cutts, 
was married in 1834. The wedding tour was by stage 
coach to Montpellier. The bridal party were haled with 
joy. The namesake of Mr. Madison from him received 
many practical precepts and the bride heard many ex- 
clamations of pleasure by Mrs. Madison over the wed- 
ding clothes. 

To Payne Todd : 

Montpellier, July 20, 1834. 

Yours, dearest, promising to write me again, came 
safely, and I was glad to hear mine, with the enclosure, 
had reached you. You did not tell me whether you had 
been successful in your collections. If not, you will 
want supplies proportioned to your detention ; I am 
anxious that you should have them, and you know the 
little I have in my power is at your command, though 
but "a drop in the bucket." You will tell me when you 
intend to return, that I may have the pleasure of expect- 
ing you. 

*Dolly Madison. J. Madison Cutts. Records of the Columbia 
Historical Society. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Messrs. Patton and Rives dined with us on the 12th ; 
they inquired for you, and said they had hoped to see 
you at the party as a "Jackson man." General Madison 
came with them, looking well and happy. Mr. Madison 
is better, though very ill a few days since, and I now 
hope he will soon be well enough for me to leave him 
on an expedition to the Court House. It would be quite 
an event for me to go there, five miles from home. Our 
last tobacco was a failure; it sold at seven when seven- 
teen was expected; so it goes with planters. Dolly and 
Mary wrote me yesterday that you were very popular 
in Washington, and I should like to be with you to 
witness it — the respect and love shown to my son would 
be the highest gratification the world could bestow upon 
me. I think to inclose this to my brother to deliver, in 
case of your having left, to keep it for you, or return 
when you are at home, as I shall inclose. * * * 
We have seen but few strangers since you left home. 
Mr. Burney, of Baltimore, called on his way to the 
Springs, and Mr. Randall, of Philadelphia, with his 
daughters and niece. He said, by the way, that he had 
caught a glimpse of you at the station, but lost sight of 
you again, as he was busy with his baggage. 

I suppose you saw Madam Serurier before she went 

on her travels. If you see Mrs. Lear, tell her she must 

come from the Springs to visit me. And now, adieu, my 

dear son; may Heaven preserve and protect you, prays 

Your mother, 

Dolly P. Madison.* 

Mrs. Madison to Mrs. Smith, August 31, 1834, gave 
a biographical sketch of herself : 

My family are all Virginians except myself, who 
was born in N. Carolina, whilst my Parents were there 
on a visit of one year, to an Uncle. Their families on 
both sides, were among the most respectable, and they, 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

becoming members of the society of friends, soon after 
their marriage manumitted their Slaves, and left this 
state for that of Pennsylvania, bearing with them their 
children to be educated in their religion — I believe 
my age at that time was 11 or 12 years — I was educated 
in Philadelphia where I was married to Mr. Todd in 
1790, and to Mr. Madison in 94, when I returned with 
him to the soil of my Father, and to Washington, where 
you have already traced me with the kindness of a Sis- 
ter. In the year 91, and after the death of my Father, 
my Mother received into her house some Gentlemen as 
boarders — and in 93 she left Philadelphia to reside with 
her daughter Washington — afterwards, with my sister 
Jackson, and occasionally with me.* 

*Forty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 


s * / 




















HARRIET MARTINEAU began her five weeks 
visit at Washington, January 13, 1835. * She 
decided the visit to be the most profitable and 
the least agreeable in her western travel. Washington, 
she says, "is no place for persons of domestic tastes;" it 
is for "persons who love dissipation, persons who love 
to watch the^game of politics, and those who make a 
study of strong minds under strong excitements." 

She came to Montpellier, by invitation, February 
18th. Says she: 

The dwelling stands on a gentle eminence, and is 
neat and even handsome in its exterior with a flight of 
steps leading up to the portico. A lawn and woods, 
which must be pleasant in summer, stretch behind, and 
from the front there is a noble object on the horizon, 
the mountain-chain which traverses the state, and makes 
it eminent for its scenery. 

Mrs. M. is celebrated throughout the country for the 
grace and dignity with which she discharged the arduous 
duties which devolve upon the president's lady. For a 
term of eight years she administered the hospitalities of 
the White House with such discretion, impartiality, and 
kindliness, that it is believed she gratified everyone and 
offended nobody. She is a strong-minded woman, fully 
capable of entering into her husband's occupations and 

*Miss Martineau stopped at Mrs. Peyton's, at the northwest cor- 
ner of Pennsylvania Avenue and John Marshall Place. Now 
Reuter's Hotel. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

cares; and there is little doubt that he owed to her intel- 
lectual companionship, as well as her ability in sustaining 
the outward dignity of the office. When I was her 
guest she was in excellent health and lively spirits; and 
I trust that though she has since lost the great object of 
her life, she may find interests enough to occupy and 
cheer many years more of an honoured old age.* 

Christopher Pease Cranch, the son of Judge Cranch, f 
was an author and artist; he could paint word pictures 
as he could paint portraits; he could paint word pictures 
in poetry. The Judge was austere; the son took all 
more lightly; of consequence, the son would see that for 
which the Judge would not look. And the son saw and 
made this picture : 

I gaz'd upon the dance, when ladies dight 

Were moving in the light 
Of mirrors and of lamps. With music and with flowers, 

Danced on the joyous hours; 

And fairest bosoms 
Heav'd happily beneath the winter roses' blossoms : 

And it is well; 

Youth hath its time, 
Merry hearts will merrily chime. 

"And it is well" when healthy. The light stepping 
is in measure to light spirits. The dance is of beauty 
when in grace and innocence. In grotesqueness and 
suggestiveness it is evil. In this day under coarse titles 
are sensual movements. In the day of Mrs. Madison 
was an approach which when reported to her by her 
niece she deprecated in her elegant way. 

^Retrospect of Western Travel. Harriet Martineau. 
fBiographical Sketch of William Cranch in Greenleaf and Law 
in the Federal City. Allen C. Clark. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

To her niece, Mary Cutts : 

Montpellier, (December 2, 1834.*) 

There has been a spell upon my fingers for a long 
time, dearest niece, and even now there rests one on my 
eyes; still I would commune with you, whom I love so 
much, and tell you that your letters are all received, and 
my spirits rising as I peruse them, because my hopes are 
renewed for dear Walter in your amiable efforts to em- 
bark him again on the waves of fortune. I rejoice at 
the pleasant visit you made to Kalorama with dear 
Dolche. I was anxious to write and tell you of our 
visit from Miss Martineau, and how much we enjoyed 
her enlightened conversation and unassuming manners. 
We also liked her lively little friend, Miss Jeffries. Ah 
me ! my eyes are even now so troublesome that I must 
hasten to say as much as I can in a short space of time, 
hoping to do more when they are better. 

I have no idea of the new dance you speak of, or its 
motions, but approve of your declining to learn it, if 
disapproved of by society. Our sex are ever losers, 
when they stem the torrent of public opinion. Baron 
K's parties must be piquant and agreeable, but if Sir 
Charles Vaughn leaves what will you all do ? 

Your uncle is still about the same, but I hope as the 
season advances he will gain strength again. With love 
to all the dear ones, 

Always your own aunt, 

Dolly P. Madison.f 

Letter of Mrs. Smith : 

16 April, 1835. 
* * * In former years I was intimate with both, as 
well as wjth Mrs. Cutts and Mrs. Van Ness, all conspic- 
uous members of the social and fashionable circle of 
that day. We have been travelling the same road and 
about the same age. They have finished their journey, 
— and I am near the end of mine?$ 

*Incorrect date. 

fMemoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

tForty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Montpellier, May 11, 1835. 

Dearest Dolly, — Payne met a friend (Mr. H.) of 
yours yesterday at Orange Court House, and brought 
him home to dinner, with his two cousins. We were 
much pleased with his society, as well as the account he 
gave of you and Mary. He told me of your pleasant 
party, and how much he admired and regarded you both, 
but not half as much about you as I want to know; in- 
deed, how could he, when my love for you makes me 
wish to trace your every word and deed throughout the 
year. He gave me your letter, and told us about all the 
great personages now with you; but what was my grief 
to receive only our music box ! the box I prized — the one 
you and Mary gave me — was missing ! I will hope, how- 
ever, that it was left with you, and I shall still hear it in 
these deep shades. 

* * * 

Your own and always, 

Dolly P. Madison.* 

Count Alfred Guillaume Gabriel D'Orsay, was the 
arbiter elegantiarum of the fashionable gentlemen. The 
Right Hon. Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield. in 
Henrietta Temple as the Count Alcibiades de Mirabel 
describes him. An imitator, the same as he, had a satin- 
lined coat of flowing grandeur, revealing a breastplate of 
starched cambric, broad and brilliant; wristbands turned 
with precision, fastened with jewelled studs, radiantly 
glittering; a satin waistcoat, creaseless hosen and foot- 
gear, Parisian polished. The mimetic powers of this 
mimic, like the others, copied the outside only; with 
them, the soul was wanting. Of the Court's philoso- 
phy is : 

Feel slightly, think little, never plan, never brood. 
Everything depends upon the circulation; take care of 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

it. Take the world as you find it ; enjoying everything. 
Vive la bagatelle! 

To her niece, Mary Cutts : 

Montpellier, October 31, (1835*) 

I was delighted to receive your last letter, my dearest 
Mary, as I am always, and sorry for your disappoint- 
ment at not seeing Thomas and his wife. You inquire 
if Count d'Orsay has been here? Yes, he spent nearly 
three weeks with us, off and on, and seemed to enjoy 
himself very much. He is a great sportsman, and would 
borrow Payne's summer clothes, and go forth, returning 
as ragged as bushes and mire could make him, rest for 
several days, and then off again, tumbling into the river, 
losing his way — and yet come home laughing at his ad- 
ventures. We found him an elegant young man, sen- 
sible and well-informed, except on the intricacies of our 
woods. I forget, now, who introduced him ; I think 
General Dearborn sent a letter of introduction. Mr. 
and Mrs. Stevenson stayed a week with me, but I have 
not yet heard from Mrs. Grimes and her children, of 
their time for coming. I must tell you that my English 
beauty has given me a calf as pretty as herself; tell this 
to dear Dolly that she may be glad with me. Have you 
any amusing books, no matter how old, to lend me? 
You see in what haste I write; tell me everything that 
you are doing, dear girls; my heart follows you all the 
time, in spite of my engrossing family. It is now late at 
night and my eyes close. Dear love to you all. Good 
night, and sweet dreams ! Your aunt 


Mr. Madison strengthened sufficiently to give Mrs. 
Madison the social season of 1835'6 in Washington. 

*Incorrect date. 

^Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison, 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Her absence was eighteen years. She arrived October 
19, 1835. Mrs. Thornton records that she, Dr. and 
Mrs. Miller paid their respects on the 28th; and that 
on the 20th of November, Mrs. Miller and she repeated 
the visit. 

Mrs. Wilcox was born in the Executive Mansion. 
She was the daughter of the nephew and niece, (married 
cousins,) of President Jackson. She lived many years 
in Washington ; and at advanced age, there, passed away. 

Mary Emily Donelson Wilcox was one of the children 
who gave the party her mother superintended : 

The children of President Jackson's family request 
you to join them on Christmas Day, at four o'clock P.M., 
in a frolic in the East Room. 

Washington, December 19, 1835. 

Of the grown-up guests was Mrs. Madison bringing 
her grand-niece, Addie Cutts.* 

An entry in Mrs. Thornton's diary has a marked simi- 
larity to one of twenty six years previous : 

1836. January 1st. Monday. Very fine day. A 
crowd at the president's & M rs Madison. 

Charles Jared Ingersoll, with his other distinctions, 
has that of historian. He and his daughter visited the 
Madisons at Montpellier ; their first day there being May 
2, 1836. For preservation and not for publication he 
made notes, however the death of Madison a little while 
after the visit prompted him to let the public have them 
through the medium of The Globe, Washington, August 
12, 1836. Only a little is taken from the delightful 
report : 

*Christmas Under Three Flags. Mary Emily Donelson Wilcox. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The house is a two-story brick mansion, with wings 
and colonnades front and back, in good design, but de- 
cayed and in need of inconsiderable repairs, which, at a 
trifling expense, would make a great difference in favor 
of the first impression of his residence. The house was 
built by his father; the wings and colonnades by himself. 
The rooms are good, furnished with French carpets, 
large windows, a good many paintings and some statuary 
— altogether without anv fashionable or very elegant 
equipment, yet in a gentlemanlike style of rural pros- 
perity. The table was not only abundantly, but hand- 
somely provided; good soups, flesh, fish, and vegetables, 
well cooked — desert and excellent wine of various kinds; 
and when Mrs. Madison was prevailing on me to eat 
hot bread at breakfast, she said, "You city people think 
it unwholesome, but we eat heartily, like the French, and 
never feel ourselves worse for it." She looks just as she 
did twenty years ago, and dresses in the same manner, 
with her turban and cravat; rises early, is very active, 
but seldom leaves the house, as her devotion to Mr. Mad- 
ison is incessant, and he needs all her constant attention. 
* * The estate consists of near two thousand 

acres of good land — the red soil, John Randolph said, 
in which Presidents grow. * * * Soon after our 
arrival, Mrs. Madison took us into the room he occupies 
during the day, and from that time I passed the greater 
part of three days at his side, listening to his conver- 
sation. * * * We found him more unwell than 
usual, and with a difficulty of breathing, which affects 
his speech; so that Mrs. Madison told me I must talk, 
and not let him. But as I wanted to listen, and he 
appeared to grow better every day, our conversation ani- 
mated without fatiguing him. * * * 

To her sister, Mrs. Todd: 

Montpellier, May 8th 36 

I have rec d dearest sister your letter of April 22d I 
am grieved to tell you that my dear Husband has been 
unusually sick for some days, and is at present unable 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

to write, or even exert his thoughts, without opprefsive 
fatigue — he desires me however, to enclose Gov r 
Shelby's* letter to him of May 15 th 1814 — according to 
M r Todd's request, which it gives him pleasure to comply 

I hope that such a testimony in favour of Genl Har- 
rison, & such facts & explanations will dispose charges 
against his military character, & conduct whether pro- 
ceeding from error or personal hostility. 

D. P. Madison 

Mr. Madison in old age was very feeble. He was 
reclining on a sofa when he requested a visitor to draw 
a chair near him and added, "Strange as it may appear, 
I always talk better when I lie."\ 

Mr. Madison, although always described as small and 
slight and inferentially physically weak, lived to be 
eighty five. He died on the morning of the 28th of 
June, 1836. He was born on the 5th of March, 1751, 
old style; or on the 16th of the new. 

To Richard Cutts : 

Montpellier. July 5, 1836. 

I could never doubt your sympathy, dear brother, and 
require it much now. When can you come and see me? 
I hope it will be soon, relying on that hearty welcome 
always in store for you, and each one of your dear chil- 
dren, who have been even as my own. I wish you 
would see Mr. Morris at the Highlands, and say to him 
from me that his friendship is a dear consolation. I 
prize his advice, and, as from my early and most faithful 
friend, will strive to follow that contained in his letter 

^General Isaac Shelby — Governor of Kentucky. Voted a gold 
medal for his conduct in the invasion of Canada, War 1812. 
fin Memoriam: Benjamin Ogle Tayloe. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of the 1st as well as any other which he may extend to 
me when he visits Montpellier. * * * I would 
write more, dear Richard, but have no power over my 
confused and oppressed mind to speak fully of the en- 
during goodness of my beloved husband. He left me 
many pledges of his confidence and love; especially do I 
value his writings. From the procedure of the first part 
of the "Debates in the Convention," I have to p'ay do- 
nations to several institutions. My brother and son are 
making a copy to send to England. 

Adieu, with love, 

Dolly P. Madison.* 

Mrs. Madison received letters of sympathy from the 
most eminent and her responses were counterparts of 
literary excellence. 

The Congress of the United States conferred upon her 
the frank privilege.! It passed condolatory resolutions 
and the President transmitted them with a personal con- 
dolence : 

Washington, July 9, 1836. 

Madam, — It appearing to have been the intention of 
Congress to make me the organ of assuring you of the 
profound respect entertained by both its branches for 
your person and character, and of their sincere condo- 
lence in the late afflicting dispensation of Providence, 
which has at once deprived you of a beloved companion, 
and your country of one of its most valued citizens, I 
perform that duty by transmitting the documents here- 
with enclosed. 

No expression of my own sensibility at the loss sus- 
tained by yourself and the nation could add to the con- 
solation to be derived from these high evidences of the 
public sympathy. Be assured, madam, that there is not 
one of your countrymen who feels more poignantly the 
blow which has fallen upon you, or who will cherish with 
a more enduring constancy the memory of the virtues, 

*Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 
t Statutes at Large, July 2, 1836. V. 107. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the services, and the purity of the illustrious man whose 
glorious and patriotic life has just been terminated by a 
tranquil death. 

I have the honor to be, madam, your most obedient 

Andrew Jackson. 

To Mrs. D. P. Madison, Montpellier, Virginia 

To the President, Mrs. Madison replied : 

Montpellier, August 20, 1836. 

I received, sir, in due time, your letter conveying to 
me, the resolutions Congress were pleased to adopt on 
the occasion of the death of my beloved husband, — A 
comunication made, the more grateful by the kind ex- 
pression of your sympathy which it contained. 

The high and just estimation of my husband by my 
countrymen and friends, and their generous participa- 
tion in the sorrow occasioned by our irretrievable loss 
(expressed through their supreme authorities and other- 
wise) are the only solace of which my heart is suscep- 
tible on the departure of him who had never lost sight 
of that consistency, symmetry and beauty of character 
in all its parts, which secured to him the love and ad- 
miration of his country, and which must ever be the 
subject of peculiar and tender reverence to one whose 
happiness was derived from their daily and constant 

The best return I can make for the sympathy of my 
country is to fulfil the sacred trust his confidence reposed 
in me, that of placing before it and the world what his 
pen prepared for their use, — a legacy the importance of 
which is deeply impressed on my mind. 

With great respect, 

D. P. Madison. 

To the President of the United States. 

In the autographic collection of James F. Hood, Esq., 
is this letter: 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Washington, D. C, July 13th 1836. 

Mrs. D. P. Madison 

The Washington National Monument Society has 
done me the honor of assigning to me the melancholy, 
yet grateful duty of communicating the enclosed reso- 
lutions, as a faint expression of their sympathy to your 
recent bereavement. 

If your sorrows could be alleviated in proportion to 
the sympathy of others, they would be light indeed; for 
you may be assured that that sympathy is universal. 

There was not a citizen of the United States, it is 
believed, who did not honor the illustrious deceased, 
while living, nor is there one who does not sincerely 
lament his death. 

Such a life and such a death afford a consolation 
which can be surpassed only by the assurance that he has 
gone to receive his reward. 

I beg you, Madam, to be assured, of my deep personal 
sympathy in your affliction, and of the perfect respect 
with which I am your obed 1 servt. 

W. Cranch, 1st V. Prest of 

the Washn. Monument Society. 

Madison was the President of the Society, succeeding 
Chief Justice Marshall, the first President. 

Mr. Madison's will is dated April 15, 1835. To Mrs. 
Madison he devised Montpellier subject to a charge of 
nine thousand dollars; the Washington (Dolly Madison 
house) property; and bequeathed the proceeds of the 
Constitution papers subject to charges aggregating about 
twelve thousand dollars, principally bequests to educa- 
tional institutions. Mr. Madison valued these papers at 
fifty thousand dollars ; largely in excess over the amount 
realized through them. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Savs Mr. Madison in his will : 

Considering the peculiarity and magnitude of the 
occasion which produced the convention at Philadelphia 
in 1787, the characters who composed it, the constitu- 
tion which resulted from their deliberations, its effects 
during a trial of so many years on the prosperity of the 
people living under it, and the interest it has inspired 
among the friends of free government, it is not an un- 
reasonable interference that a careful and extended re- 
port of the proceedings of that body, which were with 
closed doors, by a member who was constant in atten- 
dance, will be particularly gratifying to the people of 
the United States, and to all who take an interest in the 
progress of political science and the cause of true liberty. 

Madison's last message. It is in the handwriting of 
Mrs. Madison. 

Advice to my Country. 

As this advice, if it ever see the light will not do it 
till I am no more it may be considered as issuing from 
the tomb when the truth alone can be respected, and the 
happinefs of man alone consulted. It will be entitled 
therefore to whatever weight, can be derived from good 
intentions, and from the experience of one, who has 
served his Country in various stations through a period 
of forty years, who espoused in his youth and adhered 
through his life to the cause of its liberty and who has 
borne a part in most of the transactions which will con- 
stitute epochs of its destiny. 

The advice nearest to my heart and dearest in my 
convictions is that the Union of the States be cherished 
and perpetuated. Let the open enemy to it be regarded 
as a Pandora with her box opened; and the disguised 
one, as the serpent creeping with his deadly wiles into 


*Writings of James Madison. Gaillard Hunt. Signed by 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison to Mr. Clay: 

Montpeler, November 8, 1836. 

The continued and very severe affection of my eyes, 
not permitting, but with much difficulty, even the sig- 
nature of my name, has deferred, dear friend, the ac- 
knowledgments due for your very kind and very accep- 
table letter of August 18th. I should sooner have re- 
sorted for this purpose to the pen of an amanuensis, but 
that the failure of my general health combining equal, 
and sometimes greater suffering, rendered dictation 
very painful, and hope still flattered me that I might yet 
use my own. So much time having elapsed with little 
improvement in my situation, I can submit no longer 
delay in offering this explanation of my silence, nor omit 
the expression of my deep sensibility to that pure and 
true sympathy which I am conscious I receive from such 
highly valued friends as Mrs. Clay and yourself. 

The sources of consolation in my bereavement which 
you suggest, are those which my heart can most truly 
appreciate. The reflected rays of his virtues still linger 
around me, and my mind now dwells with calmer feel- 
ings on their mellowed tints. He left me, too, a charge, 
dear and sacred, and deeply impressed with its value to 
his fame, and its usefulness to his country. The im- 
portant trust sustained me under the heavy pressure of 
recent loss, and formed an oasis to the desert it created 
in my feelings. 

In fulfillment of his wishes I have, therefore devoted 
myself to the object of having prepared for the press 
the productions of his pen. It will form the surest evi- 
dence of his claim to the gratitude of his country and 
the Avorld. With the aid of my brother, who has pre- 
pared copies of the debates in the Revolutionary Con- 
gress and in the Convention, under Mr. Madison's eye, 
triplicates have been completed for publication here and 
abroad. My son went, in July, as far as New York, 
and remained there for the purpose of negotiating with 
the most eminent publishers, and I have had communi- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

cation with those in other cities, but no offer has been 
made by any entitled to confidence, which would free me 
from heavy and inconvenient advances and the risk of 
impositions and eventual loss. Under these circum- 
stances I have been advised by a friend to offer the work 
to the patronage of Congress, asking their aid so far as 
to relieve the work from the charges upon it, principally 
for literary and other benevolent purposes, and, after 
their use by Congress, to give me the stereotype 
plates. This would at once allow me to throw them 
into general circulation on a scale that would remunerate 
me more in accordance with the expectations entertained 
by their author, and would also allow the price to be 
so graduated as to insure their general diffusion. 

As this plan was suggested by one favorable to the 
Administration, he advised also that the channel of his 
friends, as the majority of those who were to decide on 
the proposition, should be employed in making it, and 
pledged their support. This work being a record only 
of what passed preceding the existence of present 
parties, can not associate the name of Madison with 
either, and therefore its introduction and advocacy by 
the one can be no bar to the favor of the other. On your 
part, I am sure that, in my yielding to it this direction, 
you will perceive no deviation from the high respect and 
friendly regard I entertain toward yourself, but approv- 
ing an adoption of this course as most conducive to 
success, you will, with your friends, insure it on the 
merits of the work alone, uninfluenced by adversary 
feeling toward the source from whence the measures 

It was my intention to have gone to Washington, 
principally with a view to obtain in personal conference 
the advice of my best friends, but my protracted ill 
health, and the approach of an inclement season I fear 
may prevent the journey. 

In addition to the three volumes of the Debates (near 
six hundred pages each) now ready for the press, matter 
enough for another volume is expected, and nearly four 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

hundred pages copied, of writings and letters on Con- 
stitutional subjects, considerable selections have also been 
made from his early correspondence, which may form 
a volume on the legislative proceedings of Virginia, and 
historical letters of the period from 1780 up to the 
commencement of the new Government. His Congres- 
sional and Executive career may furnish two more. His 
writings already in print, as "Political Observations," a 
pamphlet in 1795, "Examinations of the British Doc- 
trine," etc., it is thought should be embodied with his 
other works for more permanent preservation. 

It is important that these manuscripts should be pre- 
pared and committed to the press as early as they can 
follow the Debates, and the success of the latter will 
much facilitate the publication of the former, even if 
Congress should decline a like patronage to them, a mode 
which would be much preferred. 

The near approach of the time which will call you to 
your Senatorial duties rendering it uncertain whether 
this would reach you ere your departure from home, I 
deem it safest to address it to Washington, whence I 
hope, on your safe arrival, you will favor me with an 
acknowledgment of its receipt and any suggestions your 
friendship may offer. 

Accept for Mrs. Clay and yourself my affectionate 

Mrs. Madison communicated with the President No- 
vember 15, 1836, relative to the manuscripts of Mr. 
Madison and he, in turn, December 6, 1836, communi- 
cated with Congress. For the manuscripts by joint reso- 
lution an appropriation was made by the Congress March 
3, 1837.* The resolution was passed by the Senate, 
February 20, 1837, by a vote of thirty-two to fourteen. 
Senators Clay, Crittenden, Preston, Rives, Robbins and 

"Statutes at Large V. 171. $30,000. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Webster advocated the measure and Senator Calhoun 
antagonized it. 

Montpellier, April 1, 1837. 
Dear Sir. 

Be pleased to deliver to the order of the Secretary of 
State the box* deposited with you for safe keeping con- 
taining the manuscript copy of the Debates in the Con- 
vention of 1787 and of the Debates &c in the Congrefs 
of the Confederation: and accept my thanks for your 
kind guardianship of them. 

D. P. Madison 
Richard Smith, Esq: 
Cashier of the late 

Bank of the United States. 

Mr. Smith will be so obliging as to deliver the box of 
MS. above mentioned to the Bearer. 

John Forsyth 

Secy, of State 
April 6, 1837 

Highlands Geotown D. C. May 10th (Wedy) 1837 

Dear M rs Madison 

Among the reviving powers of Spring which I pray 
may shed its choicest blefsings on Mont Pelier, its in- 
fluence here, is, to renew the hope to my dear Mary and 
myself of making our so long intended visit to its Shrine, 
which, without even waiting for your concurrence as to 
time, We propose to do so on the first fair day Thurs- 
day — this plan, if not again postpon'd by some adverse 
fate, will bring us to the Court House on friday even- 
ing by the Stage — 

With the most affectionate remembrances of M rs 
Nourse & her whole household, and with every most 
respectful consideration, I am ever 

Yr mo. ob. S* & devoted Friend 

Anthony Morris 

*See Appendix D. 










Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Joseph Nourse all through the revolutionary war did 
service with the pen. From 1776 and for fifty-three 
years he thus served the government. When the gov- 
ernment from Philadelphia moved, he moved as a part 
of it. He first owned Bellevue on the heights of sub- 
urban Georgetown. On the turnpike to Rockville, 
farther countryward, he built on and developed the tract 
whereon is now the cathedral of the Episcopal church. 
His son, Charles Joseph, in Philadelphia, married Re- 
becca, the daughter of Anthony Morris. A seer had 
foretold she would marry a butcher and she did marry 
of the War Department, the chief clerk. These Nourses 
who attended the government gave General Jackson the 
inspiration of his witty threat, he would "soon clear out 
the Noursery."* Mr. Nourse, the son, with stone 
quarried in the neighborhood, built the Highlands, oppo- 
site the mansion of George French, Junior. The friend- 
ship of Mrs. Madison for Mr. Morris and Rebecca was 
added to by the additional family. In the Nourse fam- 
ily to this date Mrs. Madison is a pleasant memory. 
Father Morris came to live permanently with Rebecca 
and Rebecca's husband. One visit sure he and his 
granddaughter made to Montpellier. There the little 
Miss was timid. Mr. Madison carried her on his shoul- 
ders and interested her in the pictures. 'The tender 
mercies of the wicked are cruel" and Mr. Payne like- 
wise carried her on his shoulders and in easy reach of 
the macaw to snap her finger. And Mary Nourse always 
abominated Mr. Payne Todd. Mrs. Madison passed 
hours, many times, at The Highlands. 

*Social Life in the Early Republic. Anne Hollingsworth 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison to Anthony Morris: 

Montpellier, September 2, 1837. 

Accept a thousand thanks, dear friend, for your two 
unanswered letters, containing the best advice in the 
world, and which I have followed as far as I could on 
my visit to the White Sulphur Springs, a new world to 
me, who have never left Montpellier for nearly six years, 
even for a day. I passed three or four days at the Warm 
Springs, and two weeks at the White Sulphur, drinking 
moderately at the waters, and bathing my poor eyes a 
dozen times a day. The effect was excellent. My 
health was strengthened to its former standing, and my 
eyes grew white again; but in my drive home of six 
days in the dust they took the fancy to relapse a little; 
still I cannot refrain from expressing with my own pen 
(forbidden by you) my grateful sense of your kind 
friendship on every occasion. 

I met with many relations and friends on "my grand 
tour," and had every reason to be gratified, but for my 
own sad, impatient spirit, which continually dwelt on my 
duties at home yet unfinished. In truth, my five weeks' 
absence from Montpellier made me feel as if I had de- 
serted my duties, and therefore was not entitled to the 
kindness everywhere shown me, and so I am at home at 
work again.* 


Quoted in Historic Homes in Washington. Mary S. 
Lockwood : 

I took her to be sixty or seventy years old. The 
same smile played upon her features, and the same look 
of benevolence and good nature beamed in her counte- 
nance. She had lost the stately and Minerva-like motion 
which once distinguished her in the house of the Presi- 
dent, where she moved with the grace and dignity of a 
queen; but her manner of receiving was gracious and 
kind, and her deportment was quiet and collected. She 

*Mewoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

received all visitors with the same attention and kindly- 

She remarked that a new generation seemed to have 
sprung up. "What a difference," said she, "it makes in 
society. Here are young men and women who were not 
born when I was here last, whose names are familiar to 
me, but whose faces are unknown. I seem suddenly to 
have awakened after a dream of twenty years, to find 
myself surrounded by strangers." "Ah! Madam," re- 
marked one of the ladies, "the city is no longer what it 
was when you were the mistress of the White House. 
Your successors have been sickly, tame, spiritless and in- 
different. The mansion you made so charming and at- 
tractive, is now almost inaccessible. The present in- 
cumbent has no female relative to preside over it, and 
seems so much absorbed in party politics that he will 
scarcely open the house to those who wish to see it. The 
very tone of society has been affected by these changes. 
At one time such was the bitterness of party feeling that 
no visits were exchanged between those belonging to the 
administration and those in opposition. Almost all the 
old citizens are now excluded from office, and brawlers, 
broken merchants, disbanded officers and idle young men 
have been put in their places. But society is beginning 
to improve, and the fashionables of all parties mingle 
more harmoniously. Foreigners, now, as in your day, are 
all the go. A poor attache, a gambling ambassador, a 
beggarly German baron, or a nominal French count, is 
preferred to the most substantial and accomplished citi- 
zen among the young women at this Court." 

The Senate bill authorizing Mrs. Madison to publish 
in foreign countries any of the papers purchased by the 
government was passed by the House, October 13, 1837.* 

Journal of John Quincy Adams : 

October 24. (1837). This morning I visited Mrs. 
Madison, who has come to take up her residence in this 

*October 14, 1837. Statutes at Large V. 205. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

city. I had not seen her since March, 1809. The depre- 
dations of time are not so perceptible in her personal ap- 
pearance as might be expected. She is a woman of 
placid appearance, equable temperament, and less sus- 
ceptible of laceration of the scourges of the world abroad 
than most others. * * * The succeeding twenty 
years (after Madison's presidency) she has passed in re- 
tirement — so long as he lived, with him, and now up- 
wards of a year since his decease. She intended to have 
removed to this place last autumn, but was prevented by 
an inflammatory disease in her eyes, from which she has 
almost wholly recovered. There is no trace of it in her 
appearance now. 

The children were a part of the parties in Mrs. Mad- 
ison's time. 

From Mr. Adams' journal, again: 

November 2. (1837.) "Attended the sociable party to 
which I had been invited by Mrs. Forsyth. President 
Van Buren and his son Martin were there, Mr. Martini, 
Charge d' Affaires from Belgium, Mr. Cavalcanti d' Albu- 
querque, the Charge d' Affaires from Brazil, with his 
lately married wife and sister. Miss Okey, of New York,* 
Miss Hughes, who Mrs. Meigs, Mrs. Forsyth's mother, 
told me was engaged to Mr. Tacon, two Miss Macombs, 
Major Macomb, and the General's son, Mr. Forsyth's 
children, six or seven daughters, and one boy about 
twelve years old. Mrs. Meigs told me that Mrs. Madison 
had engaged to be there, but had sent this evening an 
excuse — her eyes being unable to bear the light. The 
conversation was pleasant, easy, and truly sociable." 

Mrs. Meigs love to Mrs. Madison and begs her 
acceptance of some boxes of guava marmalade & jelly 
which my daughter gave me — & I hope you are well. 

Wednesday evening. 

*Miss Oakey married Mr. d' Albuquerque. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mr. Clay to Francis Brooke : 

Washington, December 19, 1837. 

My Dear Sir, — I received your favor of the 17th. Mr. 
Madison's Journal is not yet ordered to be printed, and, 
without any such object in the delay, it may lead to the 
benefit of Mrs. Madison, by allowing the sale and dif- 
fusion of the European edition of the work. When 
printed by Congress, I will recollect your wish to obtain 
a copy. 

The Dolly Madison House was built by Mr. Richard 
Cutts. It is at the corner of Madison Place and H 
street. Mr. Cutts became involved in debt and for ad- 
vances by Mr. Madison, the property was transferred to 
him* and by him devised to the widow. Here she held 
court just as she did in the Mansion just beyond and 
slightly hidden by the trees and the distinguished who 
visited the President and his consort in turn visited her. 
Her board may not have been so bountifully laden as in 
the former days for she at times was much embarrassed. 
This inconvenient condition was due to the demands of 
her son, John Payne Todd, for she had had an ample 
fortune. The house is described by the Misses Jane and 
Eliza Wilkes, daughters of Admiral Wilkes, who ac- 
quired the property: 

It was then (1837) a small two-story-and-attic struc- 
ture, having a gable roof which sloped east and west and 

*Extract from memorandum by Mr. Madison : 

Mr. M. agreed to purchase the House and lotts of Mr. Cutts 
in the City of Washington under the following circumstances. A 
considerable sum had been left under the control of Mr. Cutts 
subject to the call of Mr. M. which it was expected would be de- 
layed for a very short time. Before the call was made Mr. Cutts 
yielding to sanguine calculations both of as to profit and the prompt 
means of replacing the money applied the fund to flattering specu- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

which was provided with dormer windows. It had no 
back building, and the principal entrance to the house, 
reached by plain wooden steps, was at the corner where 
a window now is on the Lafayette Square front. The 
yard or garden extended south to the Tayloe mansion on 
the Lafayette Square side, and east to the middle of the 
square on the H Street side. 

Here, so near by the President's, Dolly had her plum 
tree. The plums she dispensed were good things, and 
richer than Tyrian purple. When Dolly shook the plum 
tree there was a plum for many, bursting with juicy 

The President 

Requests the honor of 

M r s Madison's 

Company at dinner Friday the 24 th Nov. 

at 5. oClock. 

The favor of an Answer is desired. 

Mrs. Madison's social activity immediately ensuing 
her return to the realm of her former social reign may 
be better impressed by an exhibit of her memoranda of 
functions at which she was a guest. 

List of dinners : 

November 24, 1837. The President. 
January 10, 1838. Mefsrs. Clay, Mr. & Mrs. Crit- 

18 The President. 

19 The Secretary of State. 

23 Mr. Memucum Hunt, Minister 

PleP from Texas. 
The Mifs at Mrs. Lindenbergers. 
Mr. & Mrs. Preston. 
February 8 Mr. & Mrs. Poinsett. 

17 Mr. & Mrs. Woodbury. 

March 1 Genl Van Nefs. 

17 Mr. & Mrs. Webster, 

and Mr. & Mrs. Curtis. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Evening parties attended : 

December 11, 1837. Mrs. Gilpin. 

Mrs. Kerr. 
Mrs. C. Cutts. 
13 Mrs. Poinsett. 

January 8 Mrs. Forsyth. 

16 Mrs. Hill. 

March 7 The Minister of France. 

12 Mr. and Mrs. Polk. 

13 Mrs. Alex. Hunter. 
20 Mrs. Pleasonton. 

Mrs. Madison made a list of her calls at this period. 
Her visiting list included the higher officials of the gov- 
ernment, legislative, judicial and departmental, and 
the old residents of the city and its environs. She uti- 
lized for her visiting list a congressional directory mak- 
ing additions, as Mrs. and Miss, and alterations and 

Mrs. Madison's list included residents of the extreme 
ends of the city and of country seats. She had constant 
offers of private carriages to make her social journeys. 

Gen. Van Nefs requests the honor of M rs Madison's 
Company at dinner, on Thursday, 1 st of March, at 5 

Mansion Square 

22d Feby (1838) 
The favor of an Answer is desired. 

The journal of John Quincy Adams : 

March 15. (1838.) Mrs. Madison had requested 
that I would call to see her, and I went last evening. Her 
object was to consult me respecting the publication of her 
late husband's manuscripts, and she said she had con- 
cluded to have one volume of correspondence, concern- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ing constitutional questions since 1829, published im- 
mediately by the Harpers, at New York. 

Some business arrangement between Mrs. Madison 
and the Harpers was consummated. Payne, the son, 
wrote of disputes and differences in the settlement — the 
invariable happening in all affairs he managed for his 

From Mrs. Madison to Mrs. Smith: 

Montpellier, Sept. 10th, 1838. 

Yours, of the 6th my ever dear friend has come to 
make me blush for my delinquency, nor will I now add 
a long apology for an ungracious silence, as is sometimes 
done in such cases, but simply tell you that on my arrival 
at home after a warm and dusty ride, I found myself 
involved in a variety of business — reading, writing, and 
flying about the house, garden, and grove — straining my 
eyes to the height of my spirits, until they became in- 
flamed, and frightened into idleness and to quietly sitting 
in drawing-room with my kind connexions and neigh- 
bours — sometimes talking like the farmeress, and often 
acting the Character from my rocking chair; being thus 
obliged to give up one of my most prized enjoyments that 
of corresponding with enlightened and loved friends like 

* * * In truth, I am dissatisfied with the location 
of Montpellier from which I can never separate myself 
entirely, when I think how happy I should be if it joined 
Washington, where I could see you always, and my val- 
ued acquaintances also of that city, among the first of 
whom is dear Mrs. Bomford. 

When you see our amiable neighbours, of the whole 
square, present me most kindly to them — also to Mrs. 
Lear Mrs. Thornton and Mrs. Graham. 

*Nov. 21, 1843. My dear Mother — I am to confer with one of 
the Harpers as soon as I can see him about a difference in balance 
in your favor. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

I left some things of great value to me in my house 
and am glad to find from John's* account that the depre- 
dation did not amount to more than petty larceny. f 

The acclaim with which Mrs. Madison was received 
must have made her happy. It is inconsistent with the 
attributes of humanity, to think otherwise ; and her hap- 
piness shone in the smiles. Yet the smiling must have 
been through tears for her heart was heavy with grief 
in the declining part of the year, 1838. 

So the cheek may be tinged with a warm sunny smile, 
Though the cold heart to ruin runs darkly the while. 

— Moore. 

The Cutts children since motherless were her children ; 
she to them and they to her, felt the tender office. 

In September of that year, the second born, the nephew 

Daily National Intelligencer, October 3, 1838: 

At Fort Jesup, Louisiana, on the 2d of last Septem- 
ber, after a short illness, First Lieut. Thomas Cutts, 
Third Infantry, son of the Hon. Richard Cutts, of this 

The death of this young officer brings inconsolable 
grief to his wife and children, to his father and family, 
and to the friends of his early childhood here. 

In December the fifth born, the beloved namesake 
Dolly Payne Madison passed away. Between the two 
were the motherly and daughterly letters ; the former 
counselling and encouraging, the latter news-telling and 

*Mr. Sioussat, former domestic at the Executive Mansion. 
^Forty Years of Washington Society. The Smith residence was 
the present 734 Fifteenth Street. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Daily National Intelligencer, December 14, 1838. 

Yesterday morning, at 8 o'clock, Miss Dolly Payne 
Madison Cutts, eldest daughter of the honorable Richard 
Cutts of this city. Her funeral will take place from 
the residence of her father, in Fourteenth street, to- 
morrow, (Saturday) at 11 o'clock A.M. which the 
friends of the family are invited to attend without 
further notice. 

Be affable and courteous in youth, that 
You may be honour'd in age. 

— Lilly's Sappho and Phaon. 

Mrs. Madison's affability was in youth — throughout 
— and in age. In youth she was courteous to age and in 
age, she was bending to youth. It is no wonder, then, 
that in age she was honored by youth and that youth 
courted her presence and withdrew every limitation that 
might discourage it. 

Bal Costume 

Mrs. Weightman requests the pleasure of Mrs. Mad- 
ison's company on Thursday evening the 21 st of Feb. at 
8 o'clock in Fancy Costume. 

Thursday Jany 31st (1839) 
My dear Madam 

Understanding that you feel some difficulty in coming 
to the Fancy Ball in Fancy Costume, allow me to say 
that I shall be most happy to see you in your usual 
drefs — 

I am dear Madam 

Yrs most cordially 

Serena L. Weightman 

Miss Serena was the daughter of General Roger C. 
Weightman. General Weightman was a bookseller and 
had his literary exchange at the corner of Pennsylvania 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

avenue and Sixth street where is the National Hotel. 
He succeeded General Walter Jones as Major General. 
He was Mayor when General Lafayette came. He from 
cordiality and yet unthinkingly invited to a Fourth of 
July dinner, Sir Charles Vaughan. He overlooked that 
the buncombe served might be unpalatable to the British 
Minister. Sir Charles "was a finished diplomat;" he 
was not insulted for he caught the spirit of the invitation 
and indited a polite response that he thought he should 
be indisposed on the Fourth of July.* 

Angelica Singleton of South Carolina, a cousin of 
Mrs. Madison, was by her introduced to President Van 
Buren. The introduction was by appointment; and the 
family of Senator Preston was of the party. In the 
year following, 1838, and in November, she was married 
to Major Van Buren, the President's eldest son. The 
daughter-in-law was the First Lady during Van Buren's 
and the fact is a consequent circumstance to Mrs. Madi- 
son's intermedium. It is hereinbefore, March 30, 
1830, that Mrs. Madison was disappointed with the 
failure of a coalition between her niece, Dolly, and the 
handsome Abraham. The second offering of a relative 
to the Van Buren marital altar did not fail. 

The Boston Post has : 

The Executive Mansion was a place of much more 
than usual attraction in consequence of the first appear- 
ance there of the bride of the President's son and private 
secretary, Mrs. Abram Van Buren. * * * A con- 
stant current set from the President's house to the mod- 
est mansion of the much respected lady of ex-President 

*Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metrop- 
olis. Ben. Perley Poore. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

To Mrs. Madison : 

As we were disappointed in tasting the French pre- 
serves at dinner on Saturday I bring you a bottle of 
strawberries now — I am very anxious to see you for a 
few minutes to consult you on a very important subject 
& therefore will call again in about an hour. 

thine ever 

S. A. V. B— 

March 8th 1839 
My dear Madam, 

I send you a few of the oranges which we have just 
received from Charleston — 

I regret that they are so much injured by transporta- 
tion, that our supply is so much diminished, that we 
cannot send you another dozen, as we intended — 

With kindest love to Cousin Anna I remain ever yours 
— Adieu — 

S. A. V. B.— 
We are off this evening — 

The tribute to Mrs. John Quincy Adams to Mrs. Mad- 
ison is by one most illustrious in the line of American 

I received your Letter yesterday, my Dear Mary and 
am sorry to learn that M rs Madison is unwell — I hope 
that change of air will prove beneficial to her and that 
she will return home rebraced; for renewed conquest 
next winter — There are few Ladies who retained their 
power over the heart of mankind so long as she has 
through the winning attraction of her manner and con- 
versation — 

* * # 

M rs Thornton seems quite happy with us. M rs 
Charles has another fine Boy ten lbs and a half when he 
was born, and looks as if he had formed to play his part 
in this at present murderous world at least with good 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

fists to fight his way — He is four weeks old on Saturday 
next — No name at present — 

Adieu! Mary and Louisa are well and desire remem- 
brance to you. * * * 

Louisa Catherine Adams. 

M rs Madison presents her best respects to the Man- 
agers of the "Bachelors' Ball" and regrets that she cannot 
have the pleasure of being present at their entertainment, 
which promises as ever a high gratification. 

Mrs. Madison to her niece, Mrs. Lucy H. Conway :* 

Washington, February 2, 1839. 

I hope, my dear Lucy, that you will forgive an ap- 
pearance of neglect which my silence may have implied 
since the receipt of your kind letter, when I assure you 
that such a feeling toward you shall never come into my 
mind. I have waited some intimation of a speedy ap- 
pointment from the secretary in favor of W. Williams, 
but I am constrained to tell you that none such have been 
made. I find he considers himself in the right to make 
no promises, but to bestow the vacancies as they occur 
and as midshipmen are required to complete equipments 
of ships and smaller vessels — Wesley may be summoned 
in his turn, but when is the question that cannot be 
answered. I will continue to remind him of the wishes 
and merit of the applicant and however tedious the sus- 
pense may seem, I think success must crown him at last. 
I should rejoice to hear that your health and spirits were 
better, my dear Lucy, as I consider it the positive duty 
of those who are afflicted to exert their religion and 
their reason in favor of resignation, cheerfully allowing 
the flowers to spring up in the heart which Providence 
sees fit to wither for a time that we may be sensible of 
our unstable hold on the blessings of this world from 
which I believe it a mercy to the just and pure spirit to 
be recalled. 

*Belongs to Mrs. Kate Conway Macon Paulson, Sewickley, Pa. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mr. R. M. Newman says that the little paper box is 
preserved which was presented to his parents on his birth 
( 1843) at their homestead, Hilton, adjoining Montpellier. 
The box contained a baby dress and cap. With the gift 
was a slip of paper, now on the box, in Mrs. Madison's 
handwriting: "For Lewis Cass." As the father disliked 
Cass as Mrs. Madison admired him; the gentle hint had 
only its humor. 

Mrs. Nelly C. Willis of Orange, Virginia, has this 
reminiscence of Mrs. Madison's charming wifely par- 
tiality : 

It seems Uncle James was very fond of telling anec- 
dotes which Aunt Dolly would applaud unto the third 
and fourth edition of the same tale, remarking that Mr. 
Madison's stories were always so good they could stand 

I have received Sir, your letter of March the 30th 
requesting a copy of Mr. Madison's Will, which you 
suppose may have been printed — I am not aware that 
this has ever been done, or that such a proceeding could 
be considered necessary to any one I must therefore 
respectfully decline furnishing a copy of it for your 
friend in England. 

D. P. Madison 
Mr. Tappan 
April 3d 1839 

This publication is mainly of letters. The merit of 
the letters makes the merit of the publication. The 
letters of Mrs. Preston are dew with the flowers, fresh- 
ness and sweetness. The literary flowers of Mrs. 
Preston are the symbols of a soul, sincere and stainless. 

Mrs. Madison was the harmonizer of her day. Her 
home was the shrine of true friendships, free of the 
alloy of asperities of creeds and codes and all that excite 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

rivalries, jealousies and antagonisms. Her presence that 
had the influence of peace be unto you was sought by 
those who appreciate that benign quality. 

Robert Young Hayne, the champion of State rights, 
had in forensic encounter in the forum met Daniel Web- 
ster, the champion of the Union. The effort of the 
young Carolinian has given him historic immortality. 
He had become the Governor of South Carolina and his 
successor in the Senate was William Campbell Preston, 
the husband of Mrs. Preston who indited the charming 

William Campbell Preston was born in Philadelphia. 
His mother was Sarah Campbell before her marriage; 
the Sally Campbell who was the companion of Dolly in 
her girlhood and young wifehood days. Master Preston 
lived awhile with the Madison family in the President's 
palace; and of his visit there he, himself, tells in his 
springy style. He was maternally related to Patrick 
Henry and equal to him in oratory. He was the friend 
of Washington Irving; they made a tramp together in 
Scotland. He relinquished Senatorial honor rather than 
abide dictation. He accepted the presidency of the Uni- 
versity of South Carolina. He was a classical scholar and 
had classic features. As to the latter distinguishment one 
can for one's self see — his portrait by G. P. A. Healy is in 
the National Gallery at Washington. That a helpmeet is 
heaven's blessing not to be overlooked was his notion 
for he had two. 

Of the tribute in The Charleston Mercury, May 26, 
1860 is: 

His aversion — perhaps his difficulty in writing, with 
the consciousness that he could not faithfully portray 
himself in the spontaneous efforts of his oratory — led 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

him to neglect committing to writing his chief exhi- 
bitions of eloquence. His manners — his wit — his ora- 
tory, must all be traditional. One of his distinguished 
contemporaries mentioned to us, his personification when 
in circuit, in playfulness, of Mercutio, at a little country 
inn. Although he had often seen the character por- 
trayed on the stage, he never comprehended it before. 
A new and sudden blaze, was thrown over the concep- 
tion of Shakespeare. 

It is to be noticed that Mrs. Preston has adopted 
General Washington's designation of the city of Wash- 
ington — the Federal City — of the fanciful names to the 
writer the most pleasing. 

My dear Madam 

The daughters of D r Ramsay of our state & Mifs 
Hayne daughter of our former Senator are to pafs this 
evening with us — 

Will you deem me over bold if I again beg your pres- 
ence ? We are trying to show them what is most worthy 
of note in our Federal City & we feel if they do not make 
your acquaintance they will have missed its chiefest 
attraction, & therefore trust to see you & cousin Annie 
when the shades of evening fall — 

Yours with respectful love 

L. P. Preston 

My dear Madam 

We are now your tenant and this idea enhances the 
agreeablenefs of our new situation, which, of itself, is 
very charming at this season — your kindnefs in this par- 
ticular adds to many kindnefses that I am proud to 
remember. I sincerely wish that you could furnish me 
some occasion to shew my willingnefs to serve you. 

You have doubtlefs heard of poor Angelica's mis- 
fortune. She is doing however pretty well & the doc- 
tors tell me she is beyond danger. 



By Joseph Wood 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

With affectionate salutations, I am Dear Madam with 
the highest respst 

Yr friend best 

W m C. Preston 
2nd April 40 
Mrs. Madison. 

Thursday — 
My dear Madam 

Will you dine with us on Saturday next at 6 O clk — 
M r & M rs Abbott Laurence from Boston, have prom- 
ised us to do so & M rs Laurence is exceedingly anxious 
to make your acquaintance — She intends waiting on you 
tomorrow but her pleasure will be increased, by having 
a larger opportunity of seeing you which I trust you 
will afford her by meeting her at our house on next 

With cousinly greetings to your Annie I am Dear 
M rs Madison with 

respectful affection 

Yours &c &c 

L. P. Preston 

23d April 

Is it not a delicious fancy, a delightful trick of un- 
selfishness, or something of Quixotic pleasantry, that 
the tenant invite the landlady to come and abide with her ? 

My dear Madam 

It has been in my heart to write to you for many 
days past — Indeed ever since we found ourselves en- 
sconced in the comfortable quarters you so kindly vouch- 
safed us we have intended to thank you in good set 

We almost fancy ourselves in our own shady quiet 
home when we look out upon the trees and grass & hear 
Birds, instead of Auction Bells & hacks as we daily did 
on Pennsylvania Avenue. 

Now that I have enumerated such causes of content 
you would hardly my dear M rs Madison expect me to 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

acknowledge that we crave another Boon at your hands 
— yet so it is & I would not be a daughter of Eve did I 
not desire more than has been given me — we want 
you to give us yourself — the roads are good the weather 
balmy & if you and cousin Anna will be room mates we 
shall be delighted to have you as inmates of our house — 

Everybody in the City will be pleased to see you — 
M rs Singleton who is on a visit & M rs Van Buren will 
particularly so — poor Angelica is getting over her dis- 
appointment : especially since her Mother's arrival has 
she been comforted — her baby girl lived but two hours — 

I met Mifs Cutts at Mifs Tayloe's the other night, 
quite well — not long since M r Preston pafsed the evg 
pleasantly with her Father & self playing whist — 

Whenever you are not better employed we beg you 
to drop us a line — Both M r Preston & Sally beg to be 
remembered to you & your niece — Pray greet her for 
yours with respectful affection 

Louise P. Preston — 

Mr. Preston occupied the Dolly Madison house in 
1840; Mr. John Jordan Crittenden, Attorney-General, 
in 1841 ; Mr. James J. Roosevelt, a Member of Congress 
from New York, in 1843. 

Francis Preston Blair was of the Virginia stock and he 
was born at Abingdon. He had the education for edi- 
torial work and was the editor of The Globe, a Demo- 
cratic paper published at Washington; however, he was 
early in the Republican party. His son by marriage, 
Samuel Phillips Lee, entered the United States Navy, as 
midshipman, 1825, and was rear-admiral when he re- 
tired. 1873. 

Mrs. Madison to Mrs. Blair: 

Montpellier, July 1 st 1840 

At length my dear Madam I am enabled to thank you 
for your acceptable gift by Mr. Chapman "The path- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

finder" of our admired Cooper — It has amused some of 
my neighbours & myself very much, and it reminds me 
always of your constant kindness during my residence 
in Washington, which I beg you to believe will keep its 
place in my remembrance. 

Be pleased to offer my salutations to your daughter 
& accept them for yourself. 

Troy, October 20th 1840. 
Dear M™ Madison 

Mary tells me that you have an idea of coming to 
New York this autumn. Mama is delighted to hear it, 
as she hopes to have a visit from you at Troy. You 
must wish to see the far famed scenery of the Hudson's 
river. The Steam boats come from New York here, 
160 miles in about eight or ten hours — The "Troy" is 
the best boat — it leaves New York at 7 o'clock in the 
morning — you will be amused constantly during the day 
in admiring the splendid scenery — & the beautiful 
country seats which line the banks of the river. The 
Hudson, unlike the Potomac, is narrow, and so deep, 
that the Steam boats run close along the shores — you 
might sometimes speak to people in their houses. — 

Now, when will you come ! Mama desires you to let 
her know the exact time, that she may not be from home. 
She hopes that you will be able to amuse yourself for a 
few days — say a fortnight — she will drive you all about 
the neighborhood, to see every thing that is curious. 
Every body here will be delighted to see M rs Madison. — 
I only fear they will keep you too long from us at Wash- 
ington. — 

Papa lives at No. 17 Second street. If you write 
from N. Y. to name the day when you will come up the 
river, he will be at the wharf to receive you, with a ser- 
vant to take your baggage — the house is but a few rods 
from the Steam boat landing. 

You disappointed us dreadfully last winter by re- 
maining in the country. I hope you will never be so 
cruel again. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Will you remember me kindly to Mrs. Paine, and 
believe me 

dear Madam 

yrs aff. 
M" D. P. Madison Julia M. D. Tayloe 


Orange County 

Miss Julia Marcia Dickinson, the only child of Hon. 
John D. Dickinson, became Mrs. Benjamin Ogle Tayloe 
in Troy, November 8, 1824. She was the first Mrs. 
Tayloe. She died July 4, 1846. Miss Phoebe Warren 
of Troy, April 17, 1849, became Mrs. Tayloe, the second. 

Mrs. Tayloe speaks of the speed of the steamboat 
made on the Hudson where Fulton, thirty seven years 
before, August 11, 1807, made the first successful trip 
with the Clermont. 

And here it is appropriate to quote that poet prophet, 
Erasmus Darwin, who in 1781, caught the far future: 

Soon shall thy arm, unconquer'd steam ! afar 
Drag the slow barge, or drive the rapid car ; 
Or on wide-waving wings expanded bear 
The flying chariot through the field of air. 

I am truly sorry my good friend that the cow should 
behave so badly, but jstill hope that she will return to 
the kind protection of your family — if she has failed 
however to do so until this time and you think it best 
you will advertise her (as your own). 

I enclose $10 to reconcile the little ones for their 
fatigue as well as for the honor you may do the wan- 
derer by announcing her in a newspaper. 

D. P. Madison.* 
M r John Sioussat. 

*Both letters to Mr. Sioussat are from The First Master of Cer- 
emonies of the White House. John H. McCormick, M.D. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison considerateness for the indebted Doc- 
tor gives a possible opportunity for an application to 
herself, further on: With what measure ye mete, it shall 
be measured to you again. 

M r Sioussat, 

I am glad, Sir, and obliged by your letter of the 5th. 
telling me that my home was in order through your 
acceptable attention to the repairs ect. and I wish I could 
be there to see it but the indisposition of my niece Miss 
Payne has made it impossible for us to set out for Wash- 
ington during the last two weeks she is now better, but 
the weather and roads continue the uncertainty of our 
leaving home. I therefore enclose you $40 to reemburse 
you and if J. M. Cutts does not settle with Mr. Harvey 
I will do so on receipt of his bill. I regret having ap- 
plied to Dr. Lanior for $200 when it was inconvenient 
for him to pay it but have no doubt of his doing so 
when better health enables him to think of and attend 
to business, until which we wait for him, and I must 
still trouble 'y°u to care for my little establishment 
which I would transfer for a time to some friends if I 
did not still hope to return to it this winter. 

With good wishes for yourself and family, 

D. P. Madison* 

Dec. 10th. 40 

"Both letters, loc. cit. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madiso 




Washington Dis* of Col March 9—1841 
To Mrs D. Madison, 

WILL you my kind, and early friend, excuse 
the liberty which I am about to take? I 
am prompted by the remembrance of by- 
gone days, and by the confidence reposed in me 
by your illustrious husband, to ask a favor of you. 
You know I was honored by Mr. Madison with a call 
to preside over the then Indian Trade Department; 
and afterwards by M r Monroe, to organize a bureau in 
connexion with the War Department, & to manage our 
Indian Relations. I believe I succeeded to the entire 
satisfaction of the Government, the country, & the 
Indians. It was G 1 Jackson's pleasure to proscribe me — 
I was, without cause, driven to herd with the cattle, or 
to live as I might. This power is prostrate. A new, 
and as I hope and believe, a better day has dawned upon 
us. I have been constantly in the field, batt'ling for the 
change that has been made — The victory won, I am 
before the Executive, with the arrow of proscription yet 
in me, asking by the mouths of the citizens (Whigs I 
mean) of Four States, to be restored to my former 
position, as Commifsioner of Indian Affairs. Will you 
do me the great kindness to address a letter to President 
Harrison, in my behalf, and ask him to restore me to 
the place I once occupied? And if you please, at your 
earliest convenience — for, you know, Doctor Young says 
— "Even gold may come a day too late" — 

I hope you are well — happy you must be — May a kind 
Providence preside over and' blefs you — With my kind 
regards to your Son, I am yours most respectfully, & 
most gratefully — 

Tho. L. M. Kenney — 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

That Mrs. Sewall was Rufus Choate's sister Mary- 
was not the cause of Dr. Thomas Sewall's celebrity. 
The Doctor was celebrated in his own right. He is on 
a most elevated eminence in the medical history of Wash- 
ington city. He was of the founders in medical organi- 
zations and of the staff in institutions of medical teaching. 
He wrote medical essays and some were translated for 
the foreigners to read. In the History of the Medical 
Society of the District of Columbia is a picture of a 
handsome man in perfect health and also a biographical 
sketch of the Doctor which with attempted brevity is 
somewhat of length because of numerous honors and 

Washington City 

June 8, 1841 
Dear Madam 

Yesterday your nephew Mr. Cutts called on me & 
informed me that you were still a good deal troubled 
with your old complaint the ophthalmia & that you de- 
sired me to send you a little more of the ointment. I 
have accordingly procured a small box of it & enclose it 
by mail. I hope that you will still find it useful. I 
have generally found it more efficatious by using it not 
more than a week at a time & then remitting its use for 
a few days. I send you but a small quantity as it is 
better to be fresh & I hope also, that before you need 
another supply, we shall have the pleasure of seeing you 
in Washington. We understand that you may be here 
in Oct. a season of the year when you can travel with 
safety & comfort. 

Your friends here are all quite well at present. Mr. 
S. H. Smith had a severe illness about the time that the 
President died, but has fully recovered & Mrs. Smith 
I think has been in better health than for many years. 

Mr. Crittenden & family are now occupying your 
house which gives it an air of cheerfulness which it 
much needed. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mr. C. Cutts's sons were restored to office & are doing 
exceedingly well. They are fine steady promising young 
men & enjoy the friendship & confidence of all. 

Mr. M. St. Clark as you have doubtless seen is re- 
stored to the clerkship of the House, a situation which 
he much needed. 

Should you come to W. & spend the winter you will 
find here a large number of your old friends, who have 
been long absent. 

Be pleased to present my best regards to your son & 
to Miss Paine. 

With sentiments of the highest consideration & regard 

Tho. Sewall. 

Mr. Roosevelt's wife, Cornelia, was a famous beauty.* 

Montpellier Augt It 41 

Dear Sir — I had the gratification to find myself kindly 
remembered in yours to my son. of July 24th an( j vou 
will be afsured that I appreciate your regard, whilst I 
am sensible of having rec d so many proofs of it. 

I fully intend to occupy my House in the square next 
winter the value of which would be greatly enhanced 
by Mr. Roosevelt's building for himself a better habita- 
tion on the Lot between Mrs. Tayloe & myself. 

Affecte salutation to Mrs. Smith & your daughters 
from their f d 

D. P. M. 

Good fortune is like the tree in summer full-leaved 
and evil fortune like the tree in winter barren of foliage. 
In good fortune the friends are as the numberless leaves ; 
in evil fortune all are fallen away. No, not all, always 
blow away, a few sometimes cling till the Spring comes 
and other leaves replace. Adversity, it is the sentiment 
of Lord Greville, is the touchstone of merit and the 

*James J. Roosevelt married Cornelia, daughter of Cornelius 
P. Van Ness. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

meritorious exhibit the quality in acts of kind interest 
toward the victim of adversity. He of merit toward 
him of adversity does not substitute the deference of 
the better days with indifference. And, Mrs. Madison, 
bares her noble soul when she touchingly says, "my 
brother and his family who are in spite of their bad 
fortune inexpressibly dear to me." 

Mrs. Madison to General James Taylor }* 

Dec. 2/th 41— 

I have rec d y r kind letter d r friend with feelings of 
much interest. To find myself still remembered by y r 
estimable lady & daughter is gratifying to that attach- 
ment I cherish for you & them — & I thank you both for 
the kindnefs you have shown to my brother & his family 
who are in spite of their ba'd fortune inexprefsibly dear 
to me — I still hope that adversity will not always follow 
them in their adopted country, & that smiling days still 
await them — my first wish on their leaving us was that 
they should stop in Ky or O. & since they have come to 
the margin of both states — I trust William will contribute 
to their comfort as you d r f d have so amiably done. 

I wish Mrs. Taylor & y r self c d have been in Wash- 
ington this winter — you would witness rather a strange 
state of things, & found many charming people. Your 
old f d my sister Todd spent the last year with me — she 
had regained her health & much of that sprightlinefs of 
spirit before her return to her son W m Washington's — 
from whom I often hear good tidings of her. You will 
be pleased to hear that Mr. Clay is again well enough to 
resume his seat in the Senate, after some days sicknefs. 
All others of y r acquaintance are well & gay — My son 
& Anna & myself dined with M r & M rs Rives Xmas 
day where the party being all Virginian's our style of 
gayety for this season was reverenced. Accept my best 
wishes that it may always be a happy with you & yours — 

*Belle Vue, Newport, Ky. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Robert Tyler writes : 


What wonderful changes take place, my dearest 

M ! Here am I, nee Priscilla Cooper (nez retrousse 

you will perhaps think), actually living in, and, what is 
more, presiding at — the White House ! I look at my- 
self, like a little old woman, and exclaim, "Can this be 
I?" I have not had one moment to myself since my 
arrival, and the most extraordinary thing is that I feel 
as if I had been used to living here always, and receive 
the cabinet Ministers, the Diplomatic Corps, the heads of 
the Army and Navy, etc., etc., with the facility which 
astonishes me. "Some achieve greatness, some are born 
to it." I am plainly born to it. I really do possess a 
degree of modest assurance that surprises me more than 
it does any one else. I am complimented on every side ; 
my hidden virtues are coming out. I am considered 
"charmante" by the Frenchmen, "lovely" by the Ameri- 
cans, and "really quite nice, you know" by the English. * 
* * I have had some lovely dresses made, which fit me 
to perfection — one a pearl-colored silk that will set you 
crazy. * * * I occupy poor General Harrison's 
room. * * * The nice comfortable bedroom with 
its handsome furniture and curtains, its luxurious arm- 
chairs, and all its belongings, I enjoy, I believe, more 
than anything in the establishment. The pleasantest 
part of my life is when I can shut myself up here with 
my precious baby. * * * The greatest trouble I 
anticipate is paying visits. There was a doubt at first 
whether I must visit in person or send cards ; but I asked 
Mrs. Madison's advice upon the subject, and she says, 
return all my visits by all means. Mrs. Bache says so 
too. So three days in the week I am to spend three 
hours a day driving from one street to another in this 
city of magnificent distances. * * * I see so many 
great men and so constantly, that I cannot appreciate the 
blessing ! The fact is, when you meet them in every day 
life, you forget they arc great men at all, and just find 
them the most charming companions in the world, talk- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ing the most delightful nonsense especially the almost 
awful-looking Mr. Webster, who entertains me with the 
most charming gossip.* 

Mrs. Robert Tyler again writes: 

Washington, 1841. 

My first state dinner is over ; oh ! such a long one, our 
first dinner in the state dining-room. I was the only 
lady at the table. What with the long table, the flowers, 
and bright and brilliant dresses and orders of "Dips," 
not dip candles, I felt dreadfully confused. Mr. Web- 
ster says I acquitted myself admirably. I tried to be as 
cheerful as possible, though I felt miserable all the time, 
as my baby was crying, and I received message after 
message to come to the nursery. 

I think father is a charming host. He received his 
guests with so much courtesy and simplicity of manner, 
and I do not think his power of conversation was sur- 
passed, or even equalled by those around him. 

The British Minister, Mr. Fox, is frightful to behold ; 
he has the reputation of great ability.f 

Mrs. Thornton's Diary: 

January 1842. This year commences auspiciously as 
regards the weather — a beautiful bright day — & all the 
people are gay & stirring — The president's House over- 
flowing — Many not able to gain entrance, & those that 
do in fear of being crushed to death — or of losing a limb 
M" & M r s Adams — Mrs Madison — some of the Secre- 
taries & many private families received Company — & 
provided ample refreshments — 

My dear Mrs. Madison 

Knowing your fear of strange horses, I have made a 
vacant place in our carriage for you. The carriage is 

*The Story of the White House. Esther Singleton. 
^Historic Homes in Washington. Mary S. Lockwood. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

close and comfortable and you can not increase your 
cold in riding in it — may I hope that you will let us call 
for you — at about a quarter past eleven. I regret that 
our party is so numerous that it is not in our power to 
offer seats to Mifs Payne & Mifs Legare. Their car- 
riage tho' can come — here & go with our party without 
inconveniencing them — I hope. I receive your flattering 
note this morning & I thank you for it — believe me 
most affectionately 

your friend 

E. P. Tyler 
Mrs. Madison 

My dear Mrs. Madison 

Friday night I give my last party at Washington and 
I wish to know if it will be agreeable to you to honour 
me with your company. I trust that you may find it 
so — for it would destroy my feelings of pleasure in hav- 
ing my friends around me — if you were not able to be 
with them — with the greatest affection I remain most 
sincerely my dear Madam 

Your friend 

E. P. Tvler 
Mrs. Madison 

Elizabeth, the third daughter, married William Wal- 
ler, of Williamsburg, Virginia, Tuesday, January 31, 
1842. The marriage service was in the East Room of 
the Executive Mansion. She was in her nineteenth 

Mrs. Robert Tyler writes: 

Washington, February, 1842. 

* Lizzie has had quite a grand wedding, although 
the intention was that it should be quiet and private. 
This, under the circumstances, though was found im- 

*Ladies of the White House. Laura Carter Holloway. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

possible. The guests consisted of Mrs. Madison, the 
members of the cabinet, with their wives and daughters, 
the foreign ministers near the government, and some few 
personal friends, outside of the family and their relatives. 
Lizzie looked surpassingly lovely in her wedding dress 
and long blonde-lace veil; her face literally covered with 
blushes and dimples. She behaved remarkably well, too ; 
any quantity of compliments were paid to her. I heard 
one of her bridesmaids express to Mr. Webster her sur- 
prise at Lizzie consenting to give up her belleship, with 
all the delights of her position, and retire to a quiet Vir- 
ginia home. "Ah," said he, 

Love rules the court, the camp, the grove, 
And love is heaven, and heaven is love.* 

Mrs. Robert Tyler writes: 


I went to the Assembly last night, matronizing five 
young ladies all dressed in rose color, all so lovely too — 
Clementina Pleasanton and Belle Stevenson, the prettiest 
of all. Belle has the most perfect figure and face I ever 
saw, and Miss Pleasanton has a style, je ne sais quoi, 
about her that makes her the most attractive of the two. 

The ball was a brilliant one admirably lighted, and 
not crowded, the ladies all well dressed and showing to 
advantage. I spent a delightful evening. As I declined 
dancing I had the pleasure of talking to many grave 
senators and among the rest, had a long conversation 
with Mr. Southard. As we stood at the end of the room, 
which is the old theatre transferred into a ball-room, he 
said : "On the very spot where we stand, I saw the best 
acting I ever witnessed. I came into the theatre and 
took- my seat by John O. Adams. There were never 
two more delighted people. Mr. Adams said he had 
seen the same play abroad, in France and England. John 
Kemble and the great Talma in the part, Kean, Cook, 

*Ladies of the White House. Laura Carter Holloway. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

and Macready, but he had never seen it so admirably 
acted as then." I entirely agreed with him in his ad- 
miration, though I was not so capable of judging by 
comparison as he. 

Mr. Southard here paused. Though my heart told 
me to whom he was alluding, I could not help asking 
him, "What was the play, and who was the actor?" 

"The play was Macbeth, and the performer, Mr. 

I could not restrain the tears that sprang to my eyes, 
as I heard my dear father so enthusiastically spoken of 
I looked around, and thought, not only had papa's foot- 
steps trod these boards, — I looked down at the velvet 
dress of Mrs. Tyler, and thought of the one I wore 
there, six years before, as Lady Randolph, when we 
struggled through a miserable engagement of a few rainy 
nights !* 

Mrs. Madison's heartstrings must have drawn tense 
in the full realization of rare friendship when she read 
Mrs. Lee's recital of "cousin" Nancy's review of her 
(Mrs. Madison's) life, event to event; the visit to Balti- 
more; and the school days of her son under her 
(Nancy's) mother-like care; and with the reminder that 
they were all old friends of the Society of Friends, a 
dear family from which they all sprung. 

Baltimore, Febry 16—1842 

* * * I found myself seated some evenings ago in a 
most charming circle of our old Quaker friends — at the 
House of that dear little cousin Nancy Poultney, as she 
requests me to call her, surrounded by her children — 
your name, and my account of you gave such life and 
spirits to the dear old woman that she could talk of 
nothing else — she carried me back to every event of your 
early life to the time you spent with her in this city, to her 

"Historic Homes in Washington. Mary S. Lockwood. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

care and affection for your son when he was here at col- 
lege — she beged me to write to you to give you "her dear 
love" and tell you how she longed to see you once more — 
all this I do cheerfully well knowing how you venerate, 
and love, not only your old friends, but all that dear Fam- 
ily from which we both sprung. * * * 

God blefs you my belov'd friend — 

E. Lee 

I return this interesting book my dear Mifs Wightt 
which you were so good as to loan me — the perusal of 
which enchained my attention and as it deserved — my 
admiration. The following lines among many others 
manifest feelings and principles all must approve — 

Sure God's bright smile is on this sunny earth, 
And all his gifts and mercies showered on man; 
For all may drink of pleasure's fragrant cup, 
Who walk apart in an unblemished life, 
From Fashion's follies or the rage of vice. 


by Robert Tyler.* 
March 18th 1842. Yours truly 

D. P. Madison. 

Mrs. Madison made her only visit to New York the 
early part of April, 1842, on the business of publishing 
the Madison papers. On her onward way she tarried at 
Philadelphia a few weeks. She with Miss Cutts housed 
on Thirteenth street. Her friends vied in bestowing 
kind attentions. These friends were the Quakers and 
Quakeresses, the friends of her youth, the strongest 
friends, for at that season are made the most deep and 
dear and enduring impressions. The attentions were 
those of affection and not those of adulation for Mrs. 

*Son of the President. 


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Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Madison had descended from the official throne and her 
age was as the sun descended to the horizon. The 
Willcock's at Walnut and Eleventh streets requested the 
honor of her company at dinner; and with their com- 
pliments read "to be eaten today." Of other functions 
was a ball in her honor. 

My Dear Mrs Madison — 

I heard yesterday of your arrival in town with the 
greatest pleasure, & am truly grieved that I cannot be 
the first of your friends to welcome you, as no one can 
feel more gratified at the hope of seeing you — I am a 
prisoner to my chamber, by order of my Physician for 
an inflammation of my throat, & chest, & he will not 
consent to my going out today, as it rains. — Mr Gilpin 
will have the pleasure to call as soon as his Court ad- 
journs this mors — but I would not wait to let him be 
the bearer of my regrets to you — tomorrow if the sun 
shines, I will certainly see you — please make my kindest 
regards to Mifs Anne Payne, who I hope is with you, 
& receive 

My affectionate love 

for yourself — 

Yr friend 

Eliza Gilpin 

Wednesday Ms — 12th 
April (1842) 

Mrs Parish requests the favor of Mrs Madison's com- 
pany, Wednesday evening next at 8 o'clock. 
47 Barclay st 

April 23d 

Wednesday Eveg 
Most dear Mrs Madison. 

All the elements have combin'd to prevent me, and all 
the Highlanders, from seeing you, since your return 
from the far-fam'd city, once of Brotherly Love; but, 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mary, or Caroline will today have the happinefs to pre- 
sent our united congratulations, to you, and to the "Sweet 
Annie" as she has been christen'd we are told, in our 
bulletins from Philad a . 

Mary will also present my imploring tabatiere with so 
much grace, that I am sure it will be return'd with re- 
new'd fragrance from your hands — I hope you will be 
able to tell her, that the Philadelphians, have nobly done 
their duty, by the devotion they have paid to its once 

fairest flower — 

most respectfully 

A. M. 

Mrs. Madison to Mrs. Gilpin: 

My very d r Eliza — Ever since the rec* of your two 
last letters I have been anxious to write, & to tell you how 
much I regretted the want of power over the car & my 
party to cause them to stop at your mansion on my 
return from N. Y. — It w d have afforded me a great 
gratification to see you there in theenjoymt of health & 
happinefs, so near too our beautiful city of "brotherly 
l ove " — but I was compell'd to hasten home without a 
delay of more than one day with Mr & M rs Coles. 

I w d now answer your kind enquiry of where I.shd 
pafs the summer but that is uncertain — I must first make 
a long visit to my d Lucy & my nephew & nieces Wash- 
ington in the upper country — thence a short one to 
Montp r & lastly to the Springs — thus is my time laid 
out for me & the next winter is in such distant perspec- 
tive that I can only hope to be in this city — wish I could 
with more certainty name the place & time for our meet- 
ing but if I ventured to do so, I might subject you & 
myself to disappoint but I trust it will yet be my ever 
kind & d r fd & I will look forward in the hope of seeing 
you again & longer in Phil a next year — present me to 
your children & believe me most truly your aff te sister 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mr. Rush, when Attorney-General, lived in the Six 
Buildings;* No. 2117 Pennsylvania Avenue, the range 
or row in which the Madisons at one time lived. 

Mrs. Madison to Richard Rush, Sydenham near Phila- 

Washington May 1842 
* * * I would now if I had the power, exprefs in 
this short letter my devoted friendship for my beloved 
M rs Rush and her sweet daughters adding to that num- 
ber your excellent sons but it is not to be described save 
in these few words — I am truly their sister, and yours. 

Sydenham, near Phila. 
June 15th 1842. 
Dear Madam, 

My father on his late return from Washington de- 
livered to me the beautiful little keepsake you have so 
k'ndly sent me, for which I beg leave to return my sin- 
cere thanks. 

As containing M r Madison's hai'- it will ever be 
precious to me and I shall doublv piize it ?s your kind 

My mother requests me to say that she received the 
porcelain cup & saucer, and hew much it has gratified 
he'- to have this little token of your remembrance, which 
is always so dear to her. 

She and my sisters desire me to convey their most 
affectionate remembrances to you, and also to Miss 

I rem? in dear Madam, with renewed thanks for the 

Yours respectfully 

attached & affectionate 
ry Q Madison Rush. 

M^ Madison 

*Social Life in the Early Republic. Anne Hollingsworth 
Wharton. / 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

First having the written assurance of General Bom- 
ford that the Washington property was ample security 
and the title thereto was without flaw vested in Mrs. 
Madison to her request, John Jacob Astor acceded to 
take a mortgage of three thousand dollars. The deed 
is dated August 16, 1842. 

Daniel Webster with posterity is preeminent for ora- 
toiy, diplomacy and statesmanship. But Mr. Webster 
was a man of flesh and blood. In that day on the 
streets /he people frequently saw a strong-featured, 
large-framed man going to and from the market in the 
company of a servant and a large basket.* 

* * * The hungry edge of appetite 
By bare imagination of a feast 

would not do for him. It must be substantial, select — 
what went on the board — turned and seasoned aright — 
just as Monica, the Virginia negress, did it. 

Mr. Webster wrote many short notes and if, by 
chance, one were found, it would read likely like this : 

Dear W. W. S., — Fish all right for tomorrow. Let 
them bask in Monica's ice-box till the day comes, 

D. W. 

5 o'clock. 

To Mr. Seaton. 

I am silting down, all alone at five o'clock, to a nice 
leg of lamb, etc., and a glass of cool claret — come. 

D. W. 

*Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Me- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mr. Webster was domestic — home-loving — and home 
is not without hearts — a family. Grace Fletcher, his 
wife, died January 21, 1828. 

Mr. Webster made a second venture; made it, De- 
cember 12, 1829. He married Caroline LeRoy, the 
second daughter of Jacob LeRoy, a merchant of wealth 
and a descendant of an ancient New York family. It 
may be an awkward situation for some to make the 
announcement — to make it gently — to children and fam- 
ily; it may be an epistolary guide for such to know of 
Mr. Webster's. 

To Fletcher Webster: 

New York, December 14, 1829. 

My Dear Son: You have been informed that an 
important change in my domestic condition was expected 
to take place. It happened on Saturday. The lady 
who is now to bear the relation of mother to you, and 
Julia, and Edward, I am sure will be found worthy of 
all your affection and regard; and I am equally certain 
that she will experience from all of you the utmost kind- 
ness and attachment. 

* * * 

I am always, with much affection, your father, 

D. Webster.* 

Mrs. Webster had the attributes of a true wife and 
measured equal to her husband's high station. For 
nearly twenty three years was she his wife; then his 

My Dear Sir, — Mrs. Webster leaves in the cars this 
P. M. Speaking of a little basket of one half dozen 

*Life of Daniel Webster. George Ticknor Curtis. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

peaches and two sickle pears, the other evening, — how 
well-timed it would be, if that basket, contents as afore- 
said, should meet her at the cars! 

I have the honor, with distinguished consideration, 


D. Webster. 
Mr. Seaton 

My dear M r s Madison 

Will you & my friend Annie, gratify M r Webster the 
young ladies, & myself, by dining on Saturday next in- 
formally with us at 5 o'clock. 

I trust that your engagements may not interfere — In 
our present establishment we do not pretend to entertain 
— as we have neither space or other requisites — 

Therefore in asking the favor of your company we 
pray you to be afsured of a welcome but an entirely 
social dinner — 

Very cordially 

Yours ever 

C. LeRoy Webster. 
Wednesday EvS 

May I be allowed my dear M rs Madison to ask your 
acceptance of some West India preserves just rec d from 
my nephews in Cuba selected by them & of the choice 

With great regard 
ever yours 

C. LeRoy Webster. 

My dear M rs Madison 

M r & M r s James King of New York are now here 
arrived last af. I desire an introduction to you — May 
I be permitted to introduce them & at what hour is the 
mors most agreeable to you shall we call James G. King 
is the son of Rufus King whom you have doubtlefs 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

known in former days when he was here in congress — 
M rs King was a Mifs Gracie of New York daughter of 
Archibald Gracie a distinguished & wealthy merchant 
My kind regards to Mifs Legare & Anne & 
Be afsured of my sincere regard 

C. LeRoy Webster. 
Saturday Mors 

My dear M" Madison 

I send you a few pens & with them the necefsary ac- 
companiments which I pray you to accept. 

You will excuse I trust the liberty I have taken in 
combining these articles for writing, but enjoying the 
convenience of all these things around me & knowing 
that you often make your friends happy by sending 
them your autograph I have ventured to send the seal to 
prevent theft &c. 

With great regard 

C. LeRoy Webster 
Friday Mors 

To Mrs. Webster. 

Wonder not sweet One that I find a resemblance to 
thee in my bright new pen — but how much more doth 
thy likenefs appear as I look upon this fair unblemished 
paper — It reflecteth only thee in my imagination where 
thou art fixed as with a seal. 

D. P. Madison. 
July 23<1 42. 

Mrs. Madison to Mrs. Webster: 

Augt 25th 42.— 

I thank you dear Friend for remembering me, in your 
busy moment of preparation to depart — believe me, I 
am grieved that my journey will be in the opposite direc- 
tion to that of one, I so love and respect as yourself — 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

but my sorrow is tempered by high hopes of meeting 
you here again, in perfect health, and I trust that such 
too will be the fortune of your estimable Husband — 
whose happinefs must be augmented at the termination 
of his good work, in forming our Treaty. 

May every blef sing attend you ! 

Anna offers you affectionate adieux and we unite in 
bidding them to Miss Fletcher. — 

My dear Mrs Madison 

I am going to drive this mors at !/2 twelve for the 
first time & I feel a desire to see you once more will you 
allow me to ask you to acompany me if you have no 
other engagement — Yours with great regard ever 

D. Webster. 

Alexander Baring, Lord Ashburton, was the son of 
Francis Baring, a king merchant. He came as a mer- 
cantile emissary and negotiated a matrimonial alliance 
with Miss Bingham, the daughter of the prominent Phila- 
delphian, William Bingham. He became the master 
mind of Baring Brothers & Co. London. He came 
again to the United States ; the second time as the special 
ambassador because of his knowledge of American 
things and his pacific policy. He with Mr. Webster 
concluded, August 9, 1842, the Ashburton Treaty, de- 
fining the boundary between Canada and Maine, deter- 
mining the suppression of the slave trade and the extra- 
dition of fugitives from justice. 

Lord Ashburton lived in (now) the Coleman Mansion, 
1525 H street, and Mr. Webster, in (now) the Corcoran 
Mansion, 1611 H street. It is said that the diplomatic 
checkers were played either at one or other of these his- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

toric houses;* but Mrs. Madison lived close by, H and 
the President's Square, and it was around her hospitable 
table and to the encouragement of her smiles, the game 
progressed to drawn victory. Master Slaughter, a 
grandnephew, was there, and his wondering eyes, not 
much higher than the table, were in close range with the 
maps spread out. Master Slaughter when a man was 
James E. Slaughter, a Brigadier-General, provisional 
service, in the Confederate Army.f 

Mrs. Madison to 
Honble M r Marcy 
Secretary of War 

Will Gov. Marcy permit me to present to him M r 
James Edwin Slaughter — lately a student from the Mili- 
tary Academy in Lexington, Virginia — He is very soli- 
citous to enter the Army & to manifest his zeal in the 
cause of war — He bears with him letters of recommen- 

*Immediately west of the house in which Sumner died and ad- 
joining St. John's Church, on the east, is the great double house, 
the walls of which are veneered with stucco, painted with remark- 
ably close resemblance to brownstone. The house was built by 
Matthew St. Clair Clarke, who was from 1822 to 1834, the Clerk of 
the House of Representatives. When Lord Alexander Baring Ash- 
burton was sent to the United States in 1842 by Sir Robert Peel to 
take up the unsettled condition of the Northeastern Boundary ques- 
tion, it was this house which became his residence. Much of the 
negotiation between the representatives of the two governments, 
which led to the final agreement between them, was conducted there 
and it may be that the treaty itself was signed there. * * * Dan- 
iel Webster was then Secretary of State, and, as a token of the 
pleasant relations between the two statesmen, Webster named one 
of his sons for Lord Ashburton. For his part in the treaty achieve- 
ment Lord Ashburton was accorded in both Houses of Parliament, 
a complimentary vote of thanks, and an earldom was offered him, 
which he, however, declined. — Historic Washington Homes. Hal 
H. Smith. 

fRelated by General Slaughter to Hon. Hannis Taylor. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

dation — but being young in knowledge he insists upon 
my writing also — which I do 

With great respect & esteem 

October 14th 1842. 
To Genl Peyton 

Your touching expressions of care for your friend, 
will always be remembered by her — as well as your 
valued regard of past years. 

On the subject of Montpellier I have had but one wish, 
and intention, — it is to retain it, during my life and then, 
to leave it to my son with one thousand acres of land 
attached to it. Montpellier has been proposed for by a 
gentleman of your City, with whom I have not a per- 
sonal acquaintance, but a very high respect, M r Moncure 
and should I ever sell or rent, I might feel bound to 
allow him the first offer — I gave away, & sold some of 
the tract belonging to Montpellier which gave rise to 

I returned home in fine health but becoming a nurse 
to my household I soon imbibed the prevailing epidemic 
sorethroat and still feel the effects tho' slight — lassitude 
&c which causes me to curtail my letter. 

With every good wish for you and yours, 

D. P. Madison.* 

You will be pleased to write me 
on any subject and at any time. 
(To General Bernard Peyton,) 

Marian Gouveneur, of her Recollections, has : 

During the winter of 1842 James Gordon Bennett 
took his bride, who was Miss Henrietta Agnes Crean of 
New York, to Washington on their wedding journey. 
As this season had been unusually severe, great distress 

^Letter in possession of Honorable Alexander B. Hagner, former 
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

prevailed, and a number of society women organized a 
charity ball for the relief of the destitute. It was given 
under the patronage of Mrs. Madison (the ex-Presi- 
dent's widow), Mrs. Samuel L. Gouverneur (my hus- 
band's mother), Mrs. Benjamin Ogle Tayloe (Julia 
Maria Dickinson of Troy, New York), and other society 
matrons, and, as can readily be understood, was a finan- 
cial as well as a social success. Tickets were eagerly 
sought, and Mr. Bennett applied for them for his wife 
and himself. At first he was refused, but after con- 
sideration Mrs. Madison and Mrs. Gouverneur of the 
committee upon invitations granted his request on con- 
dition that no mention of the ball should appear in the 
columns of the Herald. Mr. Bennett and his wife ac- 
cordingly attended the entertainment, where the latter 
was much admired and danced to her heart's content. 
Two days later, however, much to the chagrin and in- 
dignation of the managers, an extended account of the 
ball appeared in the Herald* 

With trembling hand, Mrs. Madison to Mrs. Lear 
writes : 

February 9. (1843?) 

Your last letter my beloved Friend was acceptable and 
precious to me. It was a proof of your kind partiality 
in the forgivenefs of my silence — and it contained the 
best of wishes which must ever hover over my memory 
— "those consolations which this world can neither give 
nor take away" may the amiable sister who breathed this 
wish for me in like manner be blefsed. 

Finding on my return that the fortunes of an Ab- 
sentee threatened me I determined to remain here "to 
direct the storm" and have no doubt of an agreeable 
result. A pleasant family desire to rent half the Mont- 
pellier house to which I may consent and deliver myself 
of cares and trouble — when this is consummated I will 

*As I Remember. Recollections of American Society during the 
Nineteenth Century. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

come to you — In the meantime I will often communi- 
cate with you and always be near you in spirit and in 

Your affectionate 

D. P. Madison. 

Mrs. Madison in the letter, September 2, 1837, rela- 
tive to the visit to the White Sulphur Springs mentions 
the benefit to her disordered eyes. With the changes 
from impairment to improvement and improvement to 
impairment it was a continual net loss. It was a severe 
strain on her eyes to keep pace with an extensive corre- 
spondence and to gratify the album folks with sentiments 
original with her or otherwise originated. That she 
might have escape from this tax or that her correspon- 
dents and those who wished to treasure the tracing of 
her hand might have specimens of neat penmanship and 
a true index of her yet youth fulness she resorted to a 
delicate deception. This deception dates approximately 
from 1836. Some one, and it must have been nieces or 
other relatives, imitated her hand with remarkable skill 
and indeed it takes an expert to detect the difference. 
In the last years Mrs. Madison's hand was tremulous 
while the dainty notes and choice sentiments which ema- 
nated from her were in fine chirography. However, all 
the emanations have her real autograph. 

From her nephew, Richard D. Cutts : 

Washington City— Sept 26th 1843. 

My Dear Aunt — 

Your kind letter with Anne's has been received — being 
in your own handwriting, it was an afsurance of your 
recovered & recovering health — 

R. D. C. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

John Sioussat, the Madison's "faithful domestic," in 
after years kindly served Mrs. Madison in the care of 
her "little establishment" at Washington — the Dolly 
Madison house — during her absence. These services 
were as late as 1843 as he writes:* 

Washington, November 15, 1843. 
Dear Madam 

I received your letter last week enclosing fifteen dol- 
lars. I enclose you the bills of the slater and glacier 
they are both paid I hope soon to have the pleasure to 
see you in Washington I wish to know if you have any 
further commands for me before your arrival here, if 
you have please to send me word and I will execute 

I am respectfully 

Your obedient servant 

John Sioussat 

Mrs. Madison, 

I take the liberty of addressing you to have if you 
will grant me the favor of taking your likeness, fearing 
at the same time that one entirely unknown to you is 
scarcely justified in presuming upon your well known 
obliging kindness and knowing that you have so fre- 
quently been solicited for the privilege that it must have 
become an irksome task to sit to an artist of much more 
celebrity than myself. I send for your inspection a 
fancy piece which has just been completed that you my 
dear Madam may judge somewhat of my ability. I am 
but a Tyro in the art but have a great desire to perfect 

Most respectfully yours 

E. Milligan 

Dec. 15t (1843). 

*The First Master of Ceremonies of the White House. John H. 
McCormick, M.D. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Philadelphia, Dec: 23. 1843 
A Merry Christmas to you, and a happy new year and 
many returns of them to you, my dear cousin and may 
you live to enjoy a ripe old age, and as long as life may 
be desirable, is my anxious wish and ardent prayer. 
These good wishes, if I mistake not the arrangements 
of the mail, will be rec d by you in good time on Christ- 
mas morning. * * * 

I have therefore only time now to add that we often 
refer to & talk of the enjoyments we had during our 
charming visit to you last Oct 1 " — your & cousin Ann's 
kind reception & treatment of us, have made impref sions 
on the children which they will never lose a recollection : 
They talk now of things that then occurred, as if they 
had occurred yesterday. The hickory stick horse, which 
that impudent & forward fellow Derritt (our driver) 
cut for Edward, he brought all the way home, & has it 
yet — he calls it his "Madison Horse," & rides it when- 
ever he can. 

* * * 

To Mrs Madison Edward Coles 

To Mrs. Madison: 

My beloved Friend 

I welcome you home to Washington with all my heart 
— and must hope very soon to have the pleasure of em- 
bracing you. 

I am sure you will be please to hear that I have made 
a visit at last, to our friends, Mrs. Hull and M rs Rush — 
will tell you about them, and of Philadelphia when we 
meet — My love if you please to dearest Annie — and may 
I ask you my dear friend to forward the enclosed letter 
to M rs Wingate? She sent me one under the frank of 
a member of Congrefs — but I cannot make out the 
name — 

With all my love and devoted attachment 
believe me ever your own 

26th December 1843 R D - Lear 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The letter that follows is from the wife of the faith- 
ful domestic, John Sioussat. That Mrs. Madison was 
loved by the high and humble, by the prosperous and by 
the poor, by all without the distinctions that people make 
is shown in the letter as in others. 

Washington January 1 1844 
to Mrs Madison 

Lady I am allmost a stranger to you but you have 
been a kind friend to my husband the urbanity and con- 
descension with which you have all ways treated him 
emboldens me to say a few words to you on the present 
occasion the commencement of a new year Lady you 
stand so highly exalted you occupy so preeminent a sta- 
tion in society you are so dear and so beloved by all 
your friends a love which you owe lefs to your high 
rank than to your amiable and engaging manners to wish 
you a happy new year seems to be a mere form you who 
are both good and great must be ever happy but the 
blessing of the Allmighty God the King on his throne 
and the peasant in his humble cot stand alike in need of 
it and may this blefsing rest on you and all who are 
dear to you may you see many returns of this day and 
may each succeeding year be crowned with health peace 
and joy may you long very long yet continue the centre 
of a brilliant circle and when at last ful of years and 
honor you shall descend into the tomb and your Spirit 
shall return to your Creator. 

May you meet every whom you hold dear 
For the bright regions of eternal peace 

There then to live throughout undying years 

Where every tear is dried where care and anguish 

Lady there are many who will pay you the compli- 
ments of the day they are entitled by their rank to so 
for they move in the highest sphere but none can wish 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

you more fervently happinefs than your humble and 
obedient servant julia C Sioufsa 

New Year's Day 1844 
To Mrs. Madison 

I chose to be always before you, my beloved friend, 
though I don't believe one word that "out of sight I 
shall be out of mind" with you, but I wish to use no 
opportunity or leave none unimproved of deserving your 
kindness as well as to enjoy it as I do. May very many 
returns of this day find you in health & happiness, & 
prosperity as universally beloved as you are: & though 
melancholy circumstances prevent me enjoying this day 
with the zest I would otherwise do, yet believe me among 
the mercies & comforts I have the passed year enjoyed, 
I number my present situation, being not only a friend 
& guest in your house, but feeling myself once more at 
home with one like a mother & to whom I hope I shall 
ever prove myself a worthy daughter. 
Ever & sincerely aff te 

your Mary S. Legare. 

This, from the daughter of the Captain. She, when 
Miss Tingey, with Mrs. Tingey, her mother, welcomed 
in ways and words, Mrs. Madison, to Washington. 

Windsor JanY 3, 1844. 
M rs Madison 

* * * You do not know with what real pleasure I 
heard of you last summer on my visit to your city. 
Time, I understand passes gently o'er your brow, as if 
your virtues should still be enshrined, in bright & ac- 
ceptable beauty. * * * 

Wishing your life may glide on in happiness & health 
& futurity bring its rich reward, believe me my dear 
M rs Madison as sincerely as ever 

Your respectful — affectionate 

Margaret G. T. Wingate* 

*Miss Margaret Gay Tingey married Joseph Ferdinand Wingate, 
November 29, 1908. 



By Fleming 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The Daily Globe. Monday, January 8, 1844: 

Mr. Saunders submitted a resolution, as follows: — 
Mr. Thompson of Mississippi yielding to allow it to be 
offered : 

Resolved, unanimously, That a committee be ap- 
pointed on the part of this House to wait on Mrs. Mad- 
ison, and to assure her that, whenever it shall be her 
pleasure to visit the House, she be requested to take a 
seat within the Hall. 

He moved this resolution in consequence of having 
seen Mrs. Madison in the gallery. 

The resolution was agreed to : and it was ordered that 
Mr. Saunders and Mr. Charles J. Ingersoll be the said 

Mrs. Madison: 

Permit me to thank you Gentlemen, as the Com- 
mittee on the part of the House of Representatives, for 
the great gratification you have conferred upon me this 
day by the delivery of the favor from that Honorable 
Body allowing me a seat within its Hall. I shall be 
ever proud to recollect it, as a token of their remem- 
brance, collectively and individually, of one who has 
gone before us. 

Washington, Jany 9 th 1844. 

Mrs. Todd, Dolly's sister Lucy, in a letter a little while 
previous to that quoted as delicately intimates that it is 
a "consummation devoutly to be wished" that the fair 
visitor and "the Colonel," (Payne's military title) would 
make a life alignment. In this Lucy discloses that she 
like Dolly believed in matches made on earth. 

Miss Mary S. L'Egare was a visiting companion of 
Mrs. Madison during the social season of 1843'4. She 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

was popular and talented especially was her talent with 
"instruments, that made melodious chime." Her brother, 
Hugh Swinton L'Egare, was of the national law-makers, 
Attorney-General and Secretary of State. Her cousin, 
James L'Egare, was strong in her affections. Their 
home was Charleston, S. C. 

Jany 5th 1844 
My dear Sister 

I am happy to hear of your safe arrival at Wash- 
ington & much grieved tp hear of poor couisin Sally's 
helplefs state of health & sincerely hope your expecta- 
tions of her recovery may be realized. — I have no doubt 
your visit was greeted with much pleasure — I hope you 
left dear Payne well — Mifs Legare, I have no doubt will 
be an agreeable accefsion to your society in Washington 
— the high estimation in which the memory of her 
brother is held & her own intrinsic worth, will make her 
a great pet & favorite at the great Metropolis, what a 
happy occurrence, my dear sister, it would be, to make 
her a member of your family. I presume your acquain- 
tances were delighted to meet with you again & I hope 
you find every thing presaging a happy ifsue to the 
object of your visit — it would please me much to hear of 
your succefs & I would rather suppose that the present 
would be a very favorable time for making the offer of 
your papers — Congrefs, being, at this time, engaged in 
nothing of importance — tho' the feeling of retrenchment 
& economy may operate somewhat ag st you & I am 
inclined to think that this Congrefs will pause long be- 
fore it will pafsively receive any attack upon its liber- 
ality — It would afford me always pleasure to hear how 
you are advancing in that businefs as well as in any 
other. I can afsure you, my dear sister, that nothing 
distrefses me more than the existence of any thing like 
family feuds. W m seems conscious of having givenno 
cause of offence, & considers it a great piece of im- 
pertinence in Louisa's meddling in his businefs, of which, 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

she is as ignorant as the man in the moon, & dissemina- 
ting thro' the world reports which she collects from 
negroes & others, who are no better. Ever your affec- 
tionate sister 

Lucy P. Todd 

Mrs. Todd's husband, Judge Todd, died at Frankfort, 
Kentucky, February 7, 1826. 

To the Committee of the Whig Citizens of the City 
& County of Philadelphia. 

Washington, Feb. 8th 1844. 
Gentlemen : 

I pray you to accept my best thanks for the polite in- 
vitation to celebrate with you the happy occasion of 
glory & prosperity to our Country in the birth of Wash- 
ington — with my regrets that I cannot have that pleasure 
added to my gratification at the exprefsion of your ven- 
eration for the memory of my sainted husband. 
With good wishes and great respect 

D. P. Madison. 

To Mefs" Conrad 

Hanna & 





To Mrs. Madison: 

If I understood the servant aright Mrs. Madison was 
kind enough to consent to my desire to take her likeness. 
If she will do me the favor to intimate any time when it 
would be agreeable for me to call upon her she will very 
much oblige 

Very respectfully 

her obt. Serv 1 

E. Milligan. 
To Miss Milligan : 

Mrs. Madison respects to Miss Milligan to whom she 
owes an apology for not complying with her wishes be- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

fore this, which she hopes will be accepted now, with 
her proposal that Miss M. will come on Thursday next 
at 11 o'clock. 
Feby 26th 44. 

Afton, Feby 27, 1844 
My dear Madam 

Words are but feeble auxiliries to express the grate- 
ful emotions of my Heart ! when informed by my son, 
of the kind, & generous treatment which he had received 
at your hands ; Children are the Keys — which unlock the 
Parents Heart ! — the emotions of which — like the blef sed 
spirit of our divine Redeemer, can only described by 
those who have felt its heavenly influences. 

My sons description of his pleasing intercourse with 
you, in Washington, brought to my mind many dormant 
reflections — it placed in review gone-by days, when each 
returning summer, witnessed the neighboring families 
convening at old Auburn for the purpose of gathering 
around the hospitable board with their Chief-Magistrate, 
and his Lady — and well do I remember, tho but a child, 
how highly I prised, the tender carefses, the bland, the 
generous, courtesy of the loved, the admired Mrs. Mad- 
ison ! and happy, thrice happy should I be to have it in 
my power, to make some acknowledgments, under my 
own roof, of the renewed obligations I feel myself under, 
and if Mrs. Madison will do us the favor, to call, and 
spend a few weeks, on her return from the seat of Gov- 
ernment, no stimulous to exertion should be wanting to 
render her save pleasant and happy : indeed I should love 
to talk with you, of olden times, I should love to talk of 
your Mother, who was so intimate with mine — and of 
dear old M rs Winston whose memory I love to cherish : 
I should like to hear what has become of M rs Cutts fam- 
ily, particularly her daughter Dolly — and your brother 
John where is he, and his Canadian Lady who use to 
visit us from M r Armsteads, My son tells me you have 
a very interesting niece with you, who I presume is his 
daughter, we should be happy to see her with you, and 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

if you will afford me, these gratifications my son will 
meet you with our carriage when you may choose to 

Your Old, but in all probability 
forgotten friend 

Emily Bradford once known 

to you as Emily Slaughter 

February 28, 1844 was the direful catastrophe, the 
bursting of the mammoth gun, The Peacemaker, on 
board of the United States ship, The Princeton, under 
the command of Captain Stockton, instantly killing Abel 
P. Upshur, Secretary of State, Thomas W. Gilmer, Sec- 
retary of the Navy, Captain Beverly Kennon, U. S. N., 
Chief of the Bureau of Construction and Equipment, Vir- 
gil Maxey, Charge d'Affaires at Belgium, David Gardiner, 
ex-Senator of New York and some of the crew and 
maiming others. From Alexandria the ship had descen- 
ded the river fourteen or fifteen miles and on the return 
opposite Fort Washington was the calamity. The guests 
numbered four hundred, many of whom were women 
and of them not one was injured. Mrs. Madison was 
of the guests. She relieved the injured and sympathized 
with the bereaved. As the report spread friends gathered 
at her house and her return was the assurance they 
sought. She never heard mention of the affair without 
blanching cheeks. 

The four were laid in state at the President's house. 
There was a public funeral. Also were there official 
announcements and general cessation of business and 
every mark of respect. 

In the long accounts in the papers not a sailor's name 
appears as fatally or otherwise wounded. Miss Payne 
did not overlook the oversight. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

From Mrs. Madison and Miss Annie Payne to Miss 
Theodosia Davis: 

Washington, March 22d 1844. 

I am very sensible of a delinquency towards you my 
very dear Theodosia but not in my thoughts or affections 
so that you must forgive me as it has proceeded from a 
too constant round of occupation and an inflamed eye 
which has interfered with my writing to many others of 
my best friends for a long time past — however I will 
refer you to Anna who has much to say to you — after 
my tender Adieus for the present. 
Please to wear the enclosed ring — the 
gold of which, came from a mine in my 
Virginia neighborhood. 

You must first let me tell you how delighted Aunt was 
with your nice little present — too nice for the purpose 
you intended my dear Mifs Davis! but which she will 
keep & prize them for your sake. Lieut. Blake was 
polite enough to deliver it with your letter and / ought 
long since to have acknowledged them for her for it has 
not been in Aunt's power to do so. * * * 

Washington is beginning to throw aside the gloom 
which has overshadowed it since that sad catastrophe on 
board the Princeton — Judge Upshur, Gov. Gilmer, & 
Mr. Gardiner's families have all left and Mrs. Kennon 
has gone to her mother's in Geo. town. — Mrs. Maxey's 
daughter a resident here. The suffering of the poor 
seamen seemed forgotten in the sympathies extended to 
the bereaved of their conspicuous men. Capt. Stockton 
I see is your City — He can never recover from the re- 
membrance of that fatal day. My Aunt was on Board 
— but fortunately clown below. It will be long before 
she loses sight of that scene tho' she was spared the 

horrors on Deck. 

* * * 

Yr Affte fd 

A. P. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Philadelphia 21 March | 44. 
My dear Mrs. Madison 

After a very pleasant ride to Baltimore on Tuesday 
afternoon, I passed a most agreeable day at the Exchange 
Hotel, in company with some agreeable Bostonians 
whose acquaintance I soon made, by playing upon a very 
good instrument some of my most captivating pieces, 
among which, was dear Anne's favorite March in the 
Caravan. The day after as I intended we sat out under 
a cloudy sky, had an hours hard rain, & at y 2 after 3 
o'clock reached this goodly city of Penn memory. I 
found it very much improved & apparently increased 
coming in on the Western side I could judge pretty well 
of this last fact) since I was here in 1 34. * * * 
Young Morris is really a very pleasing gentlemanly per- 
son, quite handsome, & in manner & smiles reminds me 
of Walter Davidge & my far away cousin James 
L'Egare whom Mrs. Morris knows. * * * Give 
my dear love to Anne, tell her though I did not require 
anything to remind me of her, yet that ring choses to 
turn round & round (being much too large) as much 

as to say don't forget or "dinna forgit" her. 
* * * 

With my love to Mary Cutts — I remain my dear M rs 
M. your aff te friend 

M. S. L'Egare 

Mrs. Madison to Miss L'Egare: 

Wash : March 23d 44 

I rec'd your welcome letter my d r Miss L late last 
night & this morng cheered our sweet Cath e with one 
for herself & sister. The girls are perfectly well & 
promise to dine with us to-morrow. I requested that 
they would write you as soon as possible & send me 
their letter I will forward. 

I rejoice at your safe arrival in Phil a & at the satis- 
faction which seems to flow upon you from what you 
have seen there already — may no disappointment lurk 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

there or anywhere else for you! Our friends the Spen- 
cers are well, & I have sent your kind remembrances to 
the Davidge's thro' their son. 

Your Mr. Morris came to enquire for tidings of you 
yesterday, but he was too early for the mail, & the regale 
I have in store for him your approbation of his grand- 
son is yet in store. 

sfi. *f. 2|C 

Mrs. Madison to Miss L'Egare: 

Pts Sq: Apl 15th 44. 

Sir R d Pakenham is established in Mr. Webster's 
dwelling and we find him an agreeable gentleman as well 
as our new Secty Mason who with his family are in 
Mrs. Stewart's House. 

Mrs. Madison to John Young Mason, Secretary of 
the Navy: 

Permit me dear friend to introduce to you a very fine 
young man my connection James Todd — who is very 
desirous to see you who are so high in the estimation of 
all — It is merely his great respect for you which induces 
me to take the liberty he covets of placing his name 
before you. 

John Canfield Spencer married the daughter of James 
Scott Smith of New York city. He came to Washing- 
ton in 1807, carrying for the electoral college its vote. 
He made the acquaintance of Mr. Madison "which 
through life was profitable to both parties." 

Lucien Brock Proctor says : 

As a writer he aimed at no graces of language or 
ornamented diction, and yet his style was of almost 
crystalline purity — of inherent dignity, and replete with- 
out learning. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mr. Spencer was the aggressive member of Tyler's 

Nathan Sargent in his Public Men and Events says : 

Spencer was a man of great abilities, industry, and 
endurance, curt manners, and irascible temper. * * * 
It is but just to say of him that he rendered the country 
important service in the Treasury Department, which he 
administered with an ability, assiduity, integrity, and 
faithfulness seldom equaled since the days of Hamilton. 

The Spencers lived in 14 Jackson Place — the Sickles 
house. It is associated with tragedy. 

Washington May 20, 1844 
My dear Madam 

Will you excuse the liberty taken by M rs Spencer and 
myself in sending you some choice old Sherry, in which 
we would ask you to pledge us in commemoration of this 
return of your birthday? 

Allow us to express our fervent prayers for as many 
returns of the same anniversary as shall bring you hap- 
piness, and that to the last they may be crowned with 
blef sings like those you have scattered on all around you, 
giving you that peace and comfort here which are a 
foretaste of the joys received for "the pure in heart." 
Gratefully and truly 

Your friend & serv* 

J. C. Spencer 
Mrs. Madison 

I have always been moved by your united goodnefs 
towards me, my very friends M r & M rs Spencer and 
have as often enquired of myself by what merit I could 
have elicited such a distinction — My conclusion has been 
that it proceeded only from the pure, the upright, the 
tender hearts, with which I have been favored to com- 
mune — this will ever be as it is now, my pride and con- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

solation. Your fine old Wine I hope to taste with you 
and yours tomorrow evening — It will be nectar to your 

D. P. Madison — 
May 20th 1844. 

Washington May 22d 44. 

I wrote you my dear the day before yesterday — I 
again take the pen so soon after my last to tell you that 
our friends Dromgoole & John Y. Mason came to see 
me yesterday about the papers saying that many were 
anxious to vote me the amount with which I would be 
satisfied could I name it — I was at a lofs from delicacy 
& a want of knowledge what to name — 

They mentioned the sum for the Debates but I did not 
reply farther — hoping to obtain an answer from you to 
my late letters in which I wished you to advise — they 
wanted the letter explaining the reasons for the Veto on 
the Bank — after adhering long to a contrary opinion — 
Will you now tell me if I should. let the Committee see 
that explanatory letter and what other letters I had best 
shew them as specimens of the writings and the sum 
expected for them — stereotype, & all — what to say of 
Copyright — 

They and others advise that the sale of these papers 
should be consummated "in my time" and during this 
sefsion — I have given no direct answer but told them 
I wanted you here to act for me, and to enlighten me 
as to one more point whether they could have the letters 
or some of them to M r M. 

Now my dear Son will you say at once what you 
think best to these particular questions. — They seem to 
dwell on the $30,000 as if that was the proper sum, with- 
out absolutely expressing it — but I must speak now as 
they are impatient to have some data — You know J. Y. 
Mason by character — he is kindly directed to my cause. 
Oh, that you my beloved were fixed in all things, to co- 
operate with me — I will not say to act solely, for me 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

because, I had become the object of interest, and lefs 
would be done without me. This is one of the oppor- 
tunities so seldom allowed, wherein it is proper for per- 
sons to speak well of Themselves, and I therefore have 
& will repeat to you these facts as necefsary to be taken 
into view. — I want your reply a few days — five — Your 
last s d nothing in answer to my 6 last — Rd Smith applied 
thro Ballard — can you settle it — or can you remit any 
to me & when 
To John P. Todd. 

While all but submerged in the sea of difficulty, Mrs. 
Madison maintained a calm and even cheerful exterior 
and indeed while buffeting with her own troubles she 
reached a helping hand to all she could help. 

Friday forenoon, May 24, 1844, Morse's Electro- 
Magnetic Telegraph was put into operation. At the 
Capitol, in Washington, in the office of the Clerk of the 
House of Representatives, was a telegraphic apparatus 
and the other in the third story of the warehouse of the 
railroad depot in Pratt between Charles and Light streets, 
Baltimore. In Baltimore, a large number of guests 
"were present to see the operations of this truly aston- 
ishing contrivance." The names sent down were re- 
turned plainly written before the lapse of half a minute. 
To the inquiry "What is the time" came from the Cap- 
itol "Forty nine minutes past eleven;" and to, "How 
many persons are spectators to the telegraphic experi- 
ments at Washington?" came, "Sixteen." The first 
message was What hath God wrought by Miss Annie 
G. Ellsworth, daughter of Henry Leavett Ellsworth, 
Commissioner of Patents and a granddaughter of the 
Chief Justice Oliver Ellsworth. Mrs. Madison's reply 
to a friend was ready and happy.* The newspaper ac- 

*Miss Fanny Maury Burke, of Alexandria, Va. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

count concludes "This indeed is the annihilation of 

John Bryan, from Charleston, S. C, May 28, 1844, 
to Mrs. Madison writes a letter acknowledging the kind- 
ness and hospitality in taking care of his motherless 

Mrs. Thornton's Diary: 

Wednesday. June 5* h 1844. My old friend M™ S. 
Harrison Smith was struck with apoplexy this morning 
about 5 o'clock — 

on thursday she departed this Life — to the great regret 
of relatives — friends — & acquaintances — She was uni- 
versally & deservedly esteemed by all who had any inter- 
course with her — 

The slaves lived contentedly, as a rule, it is believed. 
But the slave families were under a threatening cloud — 
the threat of disruption. It was almost inevitable that 
reverse in finance or settlement of estate would some- 
times cause sales and consequent separation — husband 
from wife, parent from child. It was the curse inci- 
dent to slavery. Because of the financial embarrass- 
ment of Mrs. Madison her slaves had been by process 
of law seized and the sheriff's last act was closely im- 
pending. Because of the coming calamity, a negro edu- 
cated to write, for the slaves besought Mrs. Madison's 
help to the extent she could extend it. The appeal was 
natural and unsensationally sentenced. It could not 

*The Baltimore Patriot, Saturday afternoon, May 25, 1844. 
See Life and Times of Anne Royall — Sarah Harvey Porter, p. 
190. Souvenir of My Time — Jessie Benton Fremont. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

otherwise than distress the whole-hearted, tender-hearted 
proprietress. Mrs. Madison thought of human chattels 
as human creatures. She visited her slaves ; she made 
for them; she prescribed for them. She knew that the 
black-hued had emotions like unto those of the more 
fortunately hued. She planned amusements for them; 
gave them relaxation from their labor; provided com- 
fortable cottages with plots for flowers and vegetables; 
and when age crept up, retired them to pass the remnant 
of their days in restfulness. 

The embarrasment of Mrs. Madison is not accounted. 
It has been charged to her son's failings but he was 
always trying. It may be chargeable to crop failure or 
repeated failures of productiveness;* more likely it was 
her failure in the management of a plantation. She 
had sold a part of Montpellier. The slaves' appeal 
nerved her to further sacrifice to avert human suffering 
and she parted with the remainder including the 

Orange July 5th 1844. 
My Miftrefs 

I don't like to send you bad news but the condition of 
all of us your servants is very bad, and we do not know 
whether you are acquainted with it. The sheriff has 
taken all of us and says he will sell us at next court un- 
lefs something is done before to prevent it — We are 
afraid we shall be bought by what are called negro buyers 

*Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Madison, February 17, 1826: "But the 
long succession of years of stunted crops, of reduced prices, the 
general prostration of the farming business under levies for the 
support of manufacturers, etc., with the calamitous fluctuations of 
value of our paper medium, have kept agriculture in a state of 
abject depression, which has peopled the western States by silently 
breaking up those on the Atlantic; and glutted the land market, 
while it drew off its bidders." 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

and sent away from our husbands and wives. If we are 
obliged to be sold perhaps you could get neighbors to 
buy us that have husbands and wives, so as to save us 
some misery which will in a greater or lefs degree be 
sure to fall upon us at being separated from you as well 
as from one another. We are very sure you are sorry 
for this state of things and we do not like to trouble you 
with it but think my dear mistrefs what our sorrow 
will be. The sale is only a fortnight from next monday 
but perhaps you could make some bargain with some- 
body by which we could be kept together. * * * 


To Mrs. Madison: 
My dear Friend 

I send to enquire how you are today, & most es- 
pecially about your poor eyes — I trust the inflammation 
has subsided — & that you are quite well — I am anticipat- 
ing the pleasure of seeing yourself & dear Anna with 
me tomorrow — to pafs the day — if it be agreeable to 
yourself — I shall be delighted to realize this long prom- 
ised visit — 

The bearer will wait your answer — and with my love 
for Anna I remain dear friend as ever your devoted 

F. D. Lear 
Tuesday 6 th August — 1844 

Washington Aug. 12th 1844. 

I have executed and send this day the Indenture &c 
according to your request, my kind and respected Friend 
— the accuracy of which will I hope be found adequate 
to the occasion — I should have enclosed them to my son 
a day or two before this but the Secretary of State and 
Chief Clerk were absent and I found a difficulty in hav- 
ing the seal annexed to them — It is now done and I trust 
a blefsing will follow the transaction — to you and to 
myself — No one, I think, can appreciate my feeling of 
grief and dismay at the necefsity of transferring to 
another a beloved home. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

I have exprefsed to Payne my readiness to return for 
a short time in order to afsist in the arrangements of the 
household contents which must be in confusion some of 
which I wish to retain. 

I have told him also that you and himself would place 
as much money to my credit in Bank as was consistent 
with the engagements you have mutually concluded — 
taking in view of course the sum you were so good as 
to loan me when I saw you last. 

I wish also to retain some few of the black people but 
cannot designate them at this time — I would write more 
in order to elicit more from you on the interesting sub- 
ject which still troubles us but that I am yet very much 

Annie offers you her affectionate remembrances and 
thanks for yours. 

D. P. Madison. 
To Henry W. Moncure, Esq : 

After the execution and before the delivery of the 
deed, Mr. Moncure became convinced that Mrs. Madison 
was parting with Montpellier with reluctance ; he learned 
that the prospects were propitious for the sale of the 
Madison letters to the general government and by inter- 
view with the party holding the largest lien that he de- 
sired only the payment of the interest, and with true 
Virginia chivalry asked Mrs. Madison to be frank and 
to say if she wished to cancel the sale and declared if 
yes, he would restore with ready cheerfulness on his 
part and without reproach on hers to restore all rights 
and privileges, the same as if the subject had never been 
canvassed. His letter, August 31, 1844. 

Washington Sepf 3d 1844. 

I have received dear Friend your generous and con- 
siderate proposals, and I thank you for them — I will not 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

however take such latitude in the advantage you offer 
me, as to annul the arrangements you concluded with my 
son — I had made up my mind to them, when I sent the 
Deed, and I hope that your mutual proceedings since, are 
satisfactory to you both as they appeared to myself so 
far as I understood the minutia of them that I should be 
permitted to choose some few of the Negroes, and some 
of the furniture and to retain the family Burial place — 

Pray excuse this brief answer to your last of 1 am 

not well eno : to add more at present than my respectful 
regards to which Anna's are cordially added. 

D. P. Madison. 
To M r Moncure 

The first deed to Mr. Moncure for a part of the Mont- 
pellier estate is dated November 12, 1842; for the resi- 
due, August 1, 1844. The entire estate was 1767 acres. 

— This weather dearest seems to forbid my hopes of 
pafsing the evening with you and our interesting friends 
M r & M rs Pynes — I hope however that I may soon see 
vou and them at mv house. Anna is better and more 
obedient to D r Sewall this morning — Her love visits you 
with mine. 

Ever yours 
Monday D. P. Madison. 

Likely it did not come to Mrs. Madison as she wrote 
to them with whom she daily associated four decades 
before the sentiment of Dr. Goldsmith that old friends, 
old times, old manners, everything that's old is worthy of 

Mrs. Madison to Mr. and Mrs. Gallatin, New York: 

Wash. Oct 44 
Beloved friends. 

I take the liberty to introduce to you the grand- 
daughter of Mr. Jefferson & daughter of Mrs. Ran- 












Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

dolph of Monticello, who was in her life so dear to us. 
Mr s Meikleham who will hand you this is desirous to 
settle in N. Y. with her husband who proposes to prac- 
tice among his peers of good physicians — They are lately 
from the Havana where he was considered very able & 
respectable. I hope they will find you both in best health 
& in the remembrance of your ever aff te 

My dear Mrs Madison 

It is a fine day, for having your likenefs taken, the 
sun is not so bright as to effect your eyes, & yet suf- 
ficiently so, for the purpose, I hope you feel well enough 
to ride up with me this morning, but unlefs you are 
quite well, and entirely disposed to do so, I beg my dear 
M rs Madison you will not allow your amiable nature to 
overcome your inclinations, for my gratification, as any 
other time will do as well — about 12 o'clock is a good 
time to go, tho your own convenience shall be con- 
sulted — I should like to have you, wear one of your 
pretty white turbans, & your neck drefs'd as it was at 
M rs Tayloe's, the other evening, if you please, excuse this 
liberty I pray, & believe me most affectionately Yours 

E. S. Spencer 

Albany, Ocf 27th 1844 

My very dear & respected friend 

* * * 

Little Laura is standing by my side and says, "Grand- 
mama tell M rs Madison I send a kifs to her & Mifs 
Payne," poor little soul, she has been very ill with scarlet 
fever and is just recovering, with care, I hope to have 

her well in a short time. 

* * * 

E. S. Spencer. 

The mortgage of the Washington property — the 
Dolly Madison house ; the sale of Montpellier ; the trans- 
fer of slaves to a friendly owner — all of these sacrifices 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

were insufficient to lift the heavy burden of debt. To 
the dun of the Bank of the Metropolis, by its Cashier, 
she offered without complaining to strengthen that cred- 
itor's claim, securing to the limit of her resources and 
prospects. Mrs. Madison's coffers were empty of coin 
yet she was rich in honesty and honor. Mrs. Madison 
had learned from experience what Dr. Samuel Johnson, 
in a letter, sagaciously says : "It is scarcely to be imagined 
to what debts will swell, that are daily increasing by 
small additions, and how carelessly in a state of despera- 
tion debts are contracted." 

Richard Smith was the Cashier of the Bank of the 
Metropolis. He resided on Pennsylvania avenue oppo- 
site the Treasury building and next door to the bank — 
Corcoran and Riggs. 

Washington Nov"" 1844. 
Dear Sir 

I expect in a few days my agent, and will endeavor to 
give the Board of trustees satisfactory security for the 
loan existing" between the Bank and myself. In the 
meantime, I have only to say that my house & lots here 
are the only property real, which I pofsefs in the city 
and they are encumbered to the amount of 3000$ If 
you should deem them sufficiently valuable to bear the 
additional burthern. I am willing to enter into this 
arrangement immediately and can add to it personal prop- 
erty. My furniture & everything of a personal descrip- 
tion is free from incumbrances. The last is now en- 
sured for 2500$ by the Washington & Georgetown Fire 
insurance company. I expect shortly some valuable ser- 
vants likewise which will add to my property of this de- 
scription here and my agent could transfer it, if required. 
I hope shortly during the coming 90 days to be in funds, 
if not to pay off the whole considerably to reduce the 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

debt, which the Bank have always so obligingly accom- 
modated me with. 

with great esteem D r Sir I am yr's 

D. P. Madison. 
Richd Smith Esq r 

Talent is good and tact is better. Mrs. Madison had 
talent and in greater store, the greater gift, tact. She 
knew the appreciative effect of saying or writing just 
what was wanted. And in advising as a mother her 
nephew to do what he wanted to do and to do it quickly 
— the act being praiseworthy — heightened his valuation 
of her wisdom and strengthened his love for her. 
Nothing of insincerity was there in the advice; most 
heartily she could have given it; for, the young lady to 
come into the family fold was of the family of Jefferson. 

Mrs. Madison to her nephew, Richard D. Cutts: 

Wash. Oct. 30th 44 

I have just now rec d yours my very dear Richard & 
I hasten to give you freely that which you ask of me 
"the advice of a mother," — It is, that you immediately 
secure for your life & even after, the lonely one who 
has promised you her hand — she who I am persuaded 
would be a prize to any man — Why then should delay 
obstruct your happinefs, when your father's house tho* 
small would be a pleasant abode for a few months at the 
end of which, you could take one more ample & suited 
to your mutual taste — This is my opinion & my counsel 
dear Richard and may Heaven's blefsing follow the pur- 
suance of it & strengthen that judgment & pure spirit 
which I know lives in your soul. 

Your Aunt & constant friend 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Linstid's — near Annapolis — 

Novr 1st 1844. 
My Dear Aunt — 

* * * Let me again afsure you, Dear Aunt, that the 
interest you manifest in my plans & wishes affords me 
more happinefs than I can exprefs. If Martha has not 
wealth — she has a heart & disposition like your own 
which win & attract all who come within their influence. 
I am sure you will love her. 

* * * 

Ever your affectionate Nephew 

R. D. Cutts. 

The mansion had no high-sounding name when Jo- 
seph Nourse bought it, 1805. It is the most honorable 
in seniority of the structures on the heights of George- 
town. It is a part of the tract, the Rock of Dumbar- 
ton. Before Mr. Nourse had it, Samuel Jackson had, 
and a little between Gabriel Duval, the comptroller of 
the currency. It is another of the mansions built of the 
brick which came as ballast from England and before 
its rebellious colonies declared they "are, and of right 
ought to be, Free and Independent States" and even 
before the Stamp Act. More exactly it is set down the 
mansion was built in 1760. Its park of four and a third 
acres did not equal Mr. Nourse's ambition of domain 
and to Charles Carroll of Bellevue he sold it and his 
(George) town lots (1813) and with the proceeds 
bought the site of the future cathedral. Mr. Carroll 
gave it his family designation and it is singularly ap- 
propriate to the picturesque panorama. 

Mr. Carroll was leading in local affairs — financial and 
social. With the President and Mrs. Madison, he and 
his family were en rapport. Mrs. Madison visited Belle- 
vue. It is said in The Ladies of the White House that 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison in her flight first went to Bellevue. 
Commodore John Rodgers, for a number of years prior 
to 1820 lived there. 

Samuel Whitall, formerly of Philadelphia, in 1820, 
came permanently to it. Mr. Whitall was of the Friends 
and talked in their quaint Ouakerie. "Grandpa Whitall" 
leased lands at Mt. Vernon from Bushrod Washington. 
To and from there he was drawn by a white horse in an 
old two-wheeled gig and to the urchins he passed he 
distributed mints from his deep pockets. He never dis- 
carded a "blue cut-away coat, with bright brass buttons, 
the high stock and ruffled shirt" for the foolish dress 

Charles E. Rittenhouse came from Philadelphia to 
become a banker, the president of the Bank of Com- 
merce and of the firm of Rittenhouse, Fowler and Co. 
and he came to marry the former Philadelphian's 
daughter, the beautiful Sarah Whitall, who inherited the 
beautiful home and passed there all her life, the scrip- 
tural allotment, three score and ten. 

Bellevue is now the residence of its owner, John L. 
Newbold, Esq. Its approach is O street east of Twenty- 
eighth and Mill street is the eastern boundary. 

Somewhat back from the village street 
Stands the old-fashion'd country seat. 

— Longfellow. 

General Uriah Forrest called the large tract he ac- 
quired (1788) Rosedale after the Forrest estates in 
England. "General Forrest lost a leg at the battle of 
Brandywine, and was severely wounded at Germantown, 
where he was aide to Washington. Nevertheless he 
married, after the war, Rebecca, the beautiful daughter 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of Governor George Plater, of Maryland."* And, "Just 
after the war General Forrest was sent on a secret mis- 
sion to Germany. On his return he presented his ac- 
counts to the Government, saying, 'I am a rich man and 
the Government is poor; I will not accept any pay for 
my services, but I will keep the account and some day 
the Government will be rich and my family may become 
poor and then can be paid what is due me.' " The fi- 
nancial reversal of country and of citizen came and the 
citizen's family has been convinced "republics are un- 
grateful." Twice was he in the Continental Congress and 
he was the first clerk of the District court and had his 
office in one of the "round top" buildings, which were 
close by the circle on Pennsylvania avenue and Twenty- 
third street. 

March 29 (1791). Dined at Colo Forrest's today with 
the Commissioners & others. — Washington's Diary. 

That day from the porch of Rosedale, the first Presi- 
dent looked upon all to be within the bounds of the Fed- 
eral City; the evening of that day, he met the landholders 
to enter into articles of surrender. At Rosedale, Mrs. 
Madison visited the General's descendants, the Greens 
and the Iturbides.f 

Iron-wrought in the wall is — "Friendship." It is 
the country seat of John R. McLean, Esquire, as editor 
and elsewise eminent. It is on Wisconsin Avenue, the 
ancient road to Frederick Town. The mansion is 

*Richard Forrest and His Times. Kate Kearney Henry. Rose- 
dale is in Cleveland Park. 

tThe original house was erected about 1756; a part remains; a 
part of an addition made about 1805 also remains. The main part 
or "new house" was erected about 1860. — The Evening Star, Febru- 
ary 14, 1914. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

colonial and in color true, buff. It is said to have been 
built by George French. French had his town house 
in George Town.* His enterprises were large — land 
and mercantile. In the settlement, to George, junior, 
came the country place, a part of Terra Firma (1813). 
He gave it a name suggestive of the garden of para- 
dise — Eden Bower. Whether it was a bower in the 
sense of a home — 

Dear lovely bowers of innocence and ease. 

— Goldsmith. 

or from the cedars, proud and tall, that lined the 
ancient roadway through which vernally carpeted, in 
later years the black-robed priests paced as they mur- 
mured prayers — cannot be decided. "The monarch 
oak," within the boxwood semi-circle, reminds of 
Dryden's "patriarch of trees" — 

Three centuries he grows, and there he stays 
Supreme in state ; and in three more decays. 

From the estate of French it went to Thomas S. 
Jesup (1839), and from General Jesup to Richard P. 
Pile, said to be a retired merchant of Barbadoes 
(1843); and from Pile to the Georgetown College. 
During the ownership by the college, it was The Villa. 
Mr. McLean acquired a part of the adjoining tract 
and the name of that tract he gave to both — Friend- 
ship. Mrs. Madison visited General and Mrs. Jesup, 
Mr. and Mrs. Pile. 

*S. W. corner of Bridge (M) and Montgomery (28th) obliterated. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 




RS. MADISON was frequently requested for let- 
ters of introduction to the Washingtons who lived 
at Mount Vernon. Mrs. Madison by her sister 
was slightly related ; it was not however the relationship 
but a friendship that made Mrs. Madison's introductory 
notes passports to the patriotic shrine. 

My dear M r s Washington* will permit me to intro- 
duce to her, two of my estimable young friends, M r 
Caldwell and Mr Polk, of the President's family. They 
like all other pilgrims to the attractive home of your 
ancestor, are anxious for permifsion to see the present 
inheritors of that venerated spot. 

If my dear niece Christine is with you, give her a 
thousand good wishes and loves from Annie and my- 
self, — who are impatient to see her good husband and 
self, with us in the City — where your promised visit 
still lingers in the memory of your friend — 

My dear M r s Washington 

Another relative sues to be presented to you, your 
son, and daughter, thro me. 

J. M. Cutts is the son of my sister and cousin to the 
Hare Wood family — you will find him worthy of the 
favor he solicits. 

Truly yours, 

D. P. Madison 

Mrs. DeKay who solicited Mrs. Madison's sesame was 
the daughter of the gifted poet, Joseph Rodman Drake, 
who wrote The American Flag. 

*Wife of Col. John Augustine Washington. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Flag of the free heart's hope and home! 
By angel hands to valour given! 

My dear Mrs. Madison 

The Com: & myself called last evening to solicit 
from your kind indulgence a letter of introduction to 
the family at Mount Vernon — As this morning is so 
fine & cool we have determined to avail ourselves of 
it & hope it will not be trespassing too much upon your 
known kindness to ask a note. 
With great respect 
Your obt Sev* 

Janet H. De Kay 

nee Drake 

The date of the note introducing Mr. Caldwell and 
Mr. Polk is guessed to be about the date of the New 
Year's reception, 1845 : 

Mr. Polk,* the brother of the President-elect was at 
the President's house yesterday. He appeared to be 
quite a centre of attraction in the East Room ; and 
appeared to be the observed of all observers, particularly 
on the part of the fair, whose Eveishness seemed to 
be more excited in relation to his whereabouts than 
that of the President and other members of his family 
who received company in the Elliptic Room.f 

In 1856 under the laws of Virginia was organized the 
Mount Vernon Ladies' Association of the Union. Miss 
Pamelia Cunningham, of Columbia, D. C, was the origi- 
nator and the first regent. | The Association in 1858 
made the purchase from contributions — $200,000 for 
200 A. 

*William H. Polk, U. S Charge d'Affaires at Naples. 
■fThc Story of the White House. Esther Singleton. 
t American Monthly Magazine, Vol. Ill, No. 2. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Boston Tremont House Jany 8-45 

To M^ d. P. Madison, 
Dear Madam, 

I have a book in hand. In giving it to the public, 
which I hope to do in the coming Spring, it is my wish 
to invest it with all the attraction that I may be able 
to bestow upon it. There is so much of this in your 
name, as to lead me to ask the privilege of dedicating 
one of the divisions of the work to you. Besides, I 
shall be gratifying my own heart, by giving utterance, 
under this form to the grateful sense it cherishes of 
the worth of your illustrious husband, and at the same 
time of my obligations to him for the confidence he re- 
posed in me in calling me into the public service ; as well 
as the remembrance it cherishes of your many, and rich, 
and varied excellences. Although, I shall feel that you 
will be doing me, and my cause, a great favor by grant- 
ing the permifsion I solicit. 

* * * 

Tho. L. McKenney 

Mrs. Madison received letters of all sorts and from all 
classes. Of the odd a sample comes next. It is much 
abbreviated. Several foolscap sheets are covered with 
descriptions of misfortunes which if borne with cheer- 
fulness would discount Mark Tapley's credit and if with 
patience destroy ancient Job's reputation. 

New York Feby 14th 1845 
Mrs. Madison, 
Dear Madam, 

* * * I walked twelve miles in a severe northeast 
snow and rain storm, and caught such a cold, in riding 
afterwards in an open waggon 27 miles that for 18 
months I was confined in Boston, with the rheumatism, 
pain in my side, and the severest cough man ever re- 
covered from. * * * Since then I have been en- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

gaged in varnishing, and have brought it to a perfec- 
tion heretofore unknown. * * * I am anxious to get 
to Washington, to varnish the railings round the Presi- 
dents House and Capitol, also, the paintings and gilt 
frames &c in the White House and Capitol. But this 
is but a trifle compared with my desire to promote the 
Glorious cause of Temperance! I have been preparing 
myself to deliver such an effectual address, before the 
Assembled Wisdom of the Nation, in the Capitol, as 
I humbly trust will make such an impression on the 
Members of Congress, as will induce them to dissemi- 
nate the Heavenly Cause throughout this highly favored 
land. If possible I intend to deliver my Address, on 
a Sunday afternoon and evening the 23d inst. the day 
after the celebration of the Birth day of Washington. 
I can speak six hours I think on that subject * * * 
without fatiguing my audience, having an intermission 
of two hours between. With the blessing of Heaven, 
and the encouragement of the American people I hope 
to become to my own Native Country, what Father 
Mathew is to his ! * * * Oh what a scene to be- 
hold your noble self, John Quincy Adams, The Presi- 
dent & Vice President. Heads of Departments, Presi- 
dent and Vice President elect, my old and most esti- 
mable Friend General Winfield Scott, Members of Con- 
gress and assembled to hear a poor Green Mountain wood 
chopper Boy, through the Blessing of God, melting the 
great Assemblage into tears ! It would be worthy of 
the pencil of a Hogarth, or the pen of a Shakespear. 
Our worthy Mayor Harper, & those who have only 
heard a small part of what I am prepared with, say 

they have never heard the like. 

* * * 

Benjamin Owen Tyler. 

If you have a few dollars to assist, to get my varnish 
prepared and get to Washington, I shall be able to re- 
turn it to you within thirty days. — 

Respectfully yours, &c 

B. O. Tyler. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

William Cabell Rives of Virginia represented that 
Commonwealth in its councils and it in the councils of 
the common country. Twice was he Minister to the court 
of France. He was of the Peace Commission and in the 
failure of its overtures followed secession. His legal 
studies were under Jefferson. Not far from Monticello, 
he made his home — Castle Hill, Albemarle county. He 
is the author of The Life and Times of James Madison. 

Mrs. Rives, Judith Page Walker when a Miss, was tal- 
ented. She modestly as "A Lady of Virginia" wrote 
Tales and Souvenirs of a Residence in Europe. Mr. and 
Mrs. Rives are the grandparents of Amelia Rives, the 
famed authoress, whose The Quick and the Dead, is 
scened in the ancestral precincts. The Rives lived at 14 
Jackson Place. 

My dear Mrs. Madison, 

I have two special favors to ask, which I hope you 
will grant — one to let us have the pleasure of escorting 
you to "Nova Zembla" at half past five o'clock, — the 
other to dine with us tomorrow, in company with Lord 
Morpeth & a few other dignitaries. — 
Ever yours most truly 

J. P. R. 

It was Lord Morpeth who declared that a canvas-duck 
was a delicacy worth the crossing of the Atlantic. This is 
from a juvenile Rives : 

Dear Mrs. Madison 

We are very much obliged to you for your nice pres- 
ent; but mamma is not at home, she went over to 
Alexandria to see Brother Willie who is quite sick. I 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

am afraid I will keep Aunt Sue waiting, for I always 
take very long to write good bye. 
believe me 
as ever 


Amelie S. Rives 

To Thomas Ritchie, "Father Ritchie," was "open every 
ear" for he told the news; he was the proprietor of The 
Union. The Ritchies had their hospitable home on G 
between Thirteenth and Fourteenth streets. 

Everybody seem delighted with the Ritchie family as 
for myself I am truly so. — * * * I must hasten 
to close my letter lest the post sh d leave it — but I will 
first ask you to remember, & love me a little & to be 
afsured that my attachment to you & yours continues 
ardent as in the beginning — 

D. P. M. 

Captain Jesse Duncan Elliott knew of the tri- 
umphs of the sea. In command, he was second with 
Commodore Perry first, in the battle of Lake Erie; and 
he soon after that memorable victory succeeded Perry in 
the command of the lake. He was of Decatur's squad- 
ron and commanded a sloop of war in the Algerian 
affair. His gallantry on the seas was only equalled by 
his gallantries to the fair on the land. His letter is de- 
ciphered as follows : 

Philadelphia Friday 
My Dear Madam 

It was not until this day that I could say with cer- 
tainty I would be enabled to ask the favor of your 
charming nieces hand for one of the many dances she 
will have on the 4th March, How much pleasure it 
would afford me to be still farther at your order and 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

at her service to see you safe to at & through the Ball 
to your own house. 

I have made some very considerable progrefs in my 
collection of paintings & Daguerreotypes that of Paul 
Jones I will bring with me as an exhibition of the rest, 
should you have sufficiently recovered from your attack 
of influenza I hope to accompany you to the artist, and 
cancel the small obligation to me, which when done I 
shall place a no small estimate on. I have a portion 
of the lock of your venerated husband enclosed with 
that of Washington Franklin & Genl Jackson in a plane 
gold ring, and hope with your aid to include that of 
M r Jefferson. 

With kind regards to my young friend and an as- 
surance of my own high esteem for yourself. 
I am very truly 

Your friend 

J. D. Elliot 

M" Dolly Paine Madison 

I accompany M rs Dallas Mr. Rush and a few other 
friends as a kind of Phil a party to the Inauguration. 

Maud Wilder Goodwin in Dolly Madison refers to the 
loss of Commodore Elliott at the inaugural ball of Presi- 
dent Polk at the National Theatre, March 4, 1845. He 
lost his wallet and its contents ; and of its contents he re- 
gretted most the loss of the letter of Mrs. Madison and 
of the lock of hair of Mr. Madison which was in company 
with the locks of Washington, Franklin and Jackson. 
To Mrs. Madison: 

My Dear Friend 
In offering my thanks for the much prized bundle 
you sent me last evening, I must ask your acceptance 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of the enclosed trifle, with best wishes for your health 
and happiness, much love to Anna, Farewell 

M. K. Crittenden. 
Sunday March 23rd (1845) 

From Mrs. Madison: 

— I have bathed & coaxed my eyes sweet f d with the 
hope of them being in plight to appear before you this 
evs, but in vain — they require another day or two of 
indulgence, the usual procefs with perverse dispositions, 
always too slow in returning to good humour even in 
appearance — such are the eyes — 

of yours most truly 
Mrs. Crittenden 

From Anthony Morris: 

Highlands — Thursday Morning — 

Will you excuse Me dearest Dear M rs M for sollick- 
ing the favor of you to be at Home tins morning with 
your sweetest sweet Flower by your side, to receive two 
Philad a Ladies — Daughters of Her who was well known 
to you I think, when she was Nancy Pancoast* — the 
one Daughter is now M rs Buckley,t the other is M r s 
PerrotJ — They are pafsing thro' Washington on their 
return Home from Richmond, and won't be received 
with favor by their Mother, nor by the Philadelphians, 
if they cant say they have seen you and your Daughter 
— please to caution this fair Lafsie not to fall in Love 
with young M r P. because he is "ower young to marry 

yr Obt & faithful 

A. M. 

Richard Cutts was born, June 22, 1771, on Cutts's 
Island, Saco, in the district of Maine. He graduated at 

*Ann Pancoast, wife of Luke W. Morris. 

fHannah Ann (Morris), wife of Effingham Laurence Buckley. 

JSarah Wistar (Morris), wife of Joseph Perot. 



By W. S. Elwell 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Harvard, 1790. He was a member of Congress from De- 
cember 7, 1801, to March 3, 1813. He was Superintend- 
ent-general of military supplies from June 3, 1813, until 
his removal by President Jackson. He lived many years 
at the residence on the east side, center, of Fourteenth 
street between Pennsylvania avenue and F street, Wash- 
ington, D. C, and there died, April 7, 1845. 

Mrs. Madison to David Hume, the Postmaster at 
Orange Courthouse, Va. 

Pres. Sq: July 9th 45. 

Will my good friend Mr. Hume have the kindness to 
write me a line in which to inform me whether my son 
is in his neighborhood, or in Richmond, as I am anxious 
for the acknowledgment of several letters which has 
been written by me to him lately. 

With best wishes 

Mr. Hume replied that he had no doubt all the letters 
were received. 

To co-erce the collection of a claim General Madison, 
the brother of Mr. Madison, had against Mrs. Madison, 
he declined to deliver letters and papers that had been 
loaned to him. Without the return of these the prospec- 
tive purchase by Congress would be blocked. A law suit 
resulted. The circumstances are narrated in Miss Annie 
Payne's affidavit, May 6, 1846 : 

I recollect not a great while before Mr. M's death 
hearing him ask Gen. Madison to be sure and return to 
him the letters and papers he was then handing him — 
and afterwards I heard him with a good deal of anxiety 
tell Mrs. M. that she must certainly get back from him 
those papers — that Gen. M. had not yet returned them 
— and that it would be of importance she should have 
them. In Sept. '39 when Gen. M. . enquired of her, 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Airs. M., if she had thought of his request that she 
would give to him or some of his family something 
in remembrance of the expense he had incurred in 
settling up his father's estate Mrs. M. answered him 
that her husband had himself assured her that there 
was no debt due from him or any account whatever to 
any member of his family. He told her that he knew 
the time had elapsed by which he could recover any- 
thing by law but that in justice upwards of $2,000 was 
due him as executor and that he could and would prove 
this to be the case to her but that he did not ask it of 
her as a debt — he appealed to her generosity and hoped 
she would then give him some memoranda of her in- 
tention — she took the slate and wrote to this effect 
"Without the admission of any debt from my husband 
to his brother William, on his father's account, I give 
you this mem° at Gen. Madison's solicitation for some 
gift of generosity to him or to his family in case he 
can prove to me, that there had been a debt due tho' too 
long ago for the law to recover it now — feeling there- 
fore, every wish of yielding to his persuasion at some 
future day, I write this as an evidence of my intention, 
to give his family or to cause to be paid to one of them 
$- . 

John S. Barbour was a prominent politician and prac- 
titioner. He was a member of Congress from 1822 to 

Catalpa July 19th 1845 
My Dear Madam 

I am very sensible that gross injustice is done you 
in the matter of which I have both written & spoken 
so often to you. And I fear that I am obtrusive in 
my communications. They are at least disinterested; 
& if they be as succefsful as my wishes are pure of all 
selfish consideration; justice will be done to you. 

My connexion by blood with those whose interest is 
adversary to yours; will plead my apology for caution 
& confidence in my communication with you. If John 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

P. Todd Esq: will call at my house I can probably aid 
him. and I will do so very cordially; & with zeal, to the 
result, whenever he will call. I am not acquainted with 
your counsel (Mr. Halladay, else I would write to him. 
I am with kindest respect and the best wishes 
Yr faithful friend 

J. S. Barbour 
Mrs. D. P. Madison 
Washington City 

Mrs. Madison to John S. Barbour, Esq. 

Catalpa, near Culpeper C H Va 

Wash., July 21st 45 

I ought before this dear Sir, to have acknowledged 
your disinterested kindnefs in the communication you 
made me, but I flattered myself that my son would 
better exprefs in person to you the grateful feeling with 
which I must ever remember them — I beg you to be 
afsured that whether or not, I profit by your good 
wishes, I shall count it a great gratification that your 
sympathy & counsel were freely given to me. 

I am ignorant of the progrefs made in the suit, & 
without an acquaintance with the Advocates engaged in 
it — being too indisposed to make my way to the scene 
in such oppressive weather. 

With affte salutations for your daughter. 

Your friend 

M rs Madison presents her affectionate respects to the 
Sisters of the Visitation and regrets that indisposition 
deprives her of the great pleasure of accepting their kind 
invitation to their Academy this day. 
July 23d '45 

Mr. Madison's relative, James Madison, was a bishop 
of the Episcopal Church in Virginia. Mr. Madison ad- 
hered to the faith of his fathers; and Mrs. Madison in 
the services attended with him. Perhaps for a few 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

months they worshipped at the new St. John's. Alex- 
ander B. Hagner in History and Reminiscences of St. 
John's Church, Washington, D. C, has : 

In December, 1816, the Committee appointed to wait 
on President Madison and offer him his choice of a 
pew in the Church free of purchase, reported that the 
President desired the choice should be made by the Com- 
mittee, who accordingly selected one, among the large 
pews of the first class. 

Upon coming to Washington she renewed her attend- 
ance and worshipped with her intimate friends, Mesdames 
Hamilton, Thornton and Lear. In piety she was Quaker 
and Episcopalian; she was the essence that all faiths 
tend to reach ; in the form, from affiliation, she changed. 

Dear Aunt Lear 

Aunt & myself intend to be christened this morning 
in Church and we wish much that you should be present 
— It will be at Twelve. No one is to be there except 
Mr s Adams and her daughters, cousin Mary & Louisa 

Accept our love c^ believe me always yours 

Anne Payne 

To the Revd M r Pyne 
St. John's Church 
Dear Friend — I wish to be with you this day of 
Confirmation and would ask if you had any counsel to 
give me. 
July 15th 1845 

To Mrs. Madison: 
My dearest friend 
I am obliged to write on this scrap — I have no counsel 
to give, but to go on as you have begun. God blefs you. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

and keep you in His Holy favour — Gladly shall I en- 
roll you in the list of my candidates — I should like to 
see my friend Annie too — 

Ever affectionately 

Smith Pyne 

To Rev. Mr. Pyne : 

According to your intimation of this morning dear 
Friend I send you my name in full and hope if there is 
aught else for me to do, that I shall know it from you 
who I am proud to greet in the fine character of our 
good and kind Pastor. 

Dolly Payne Madison 
July 27th 1845. 

Mrs. Madison to her nephew, Richard D. Cutts : 

And now, my dear Richard, I must tell you on what 
our thoughts have dwelt a great deal — and that is to 
become worthy of membership in the church which I 
have attended for the last forty years, and which Anna 
has attended all her life. Yesterday this long-wished- 
for confirmation took place. Bishop Whittingham per- 
formed the ceremony, and we had an excellent sermon 
from the Bishop of New Jersey — a fine preacher and 
beautiful champion for Charity, which "suspects not nor 
thinks no evil." 

Extract from a long letter to Mrs. Madison : 

August 3, 1845. 

It has been with no ordinary emotions that I have 
lately received the intelligence, that you have assumed 
the profession of faith. 

A. M. Boyd. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

To Philad* Sept. 1, 1845, 

Mrs. D. P. Madison, 
My dear Madam, 

The vol which you did me the honor to patronize, 
by permitting its dedication to yon, is in the press. It has 
been delayed by those obstacles which lie always allmost 
in the way of authors — But it is on its way through the 
press, and will, bye & bye, appear before the public. 
My chief anxiety is, that it may prove not unworthy of 
the distinguished name under whose auspices it will ap- 
pear. If I succeed in making the work acceptable to 
yon, I shall have achieved one great end which I had in 
view in its preparation. The editor of the Knicker- 
bocker has been kind enough to notice the enterprize. 
I have no copy of that number, or I would sent it to 
you; but the notice having been copied by an Editor of 
a paper in this City, I send you a paper containing the 
Knickerbocker's notice — which is certainly very friendly. 
I had a ramble last Saturday in company with a beloved 
friend, in Bartram's gardens, and thought, and talked 
of you. But it does not require a walk there, to revive 
recollections of one, who, with her illustrious consort, 
will live in my memory whilst this faculty shall be left 
to me. I do not know how it is, but it is true, that I 
revel more in the past, than I do in the present, or the 
future ; and in all the backward tracks which my fancy 
takes, it is sure to embrace that glorious period, when 
James Madison was President of the U. States, and 
you, Madam, were at his side, lending that high station 
the charms of your person, & conversation, and en- 
riching the circle in which you moved by that gracious 
manner, which made you the beloved of all. I en- 
quire after you of all I see, who come from Washington, 
& who know you, & visit you ; and am made happy 
to hear from all. of the excellent state of your health, 
&c. May it long be continued to you, crowned with 
every other earthly blefsing, is the prayer of your sin- 
cere and devoted friend 

Tho: L: McKenney 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

As had Mr. Madison so had Mrs. Madison the art 
feeling. As her spoken and written thought was cultured 
so was her sense of decorative beauty. Her home had 
Gilbert Stuart and John Vanderlyn's portraiture and other 
works of recognized masters. Examples that were of 
slight value when in her possession are now treasures 
only the wealthy can possess. She had besides many well- 
chosen engravings; and besides art objects that are now 
guarded in numerous cabinets. In the encouragement of 
art, Mrs. Madison could quite appropriately donate of her 
valuable keepsakes; and from affection for the city that 
had in it so much of personal history intertwined. 

Copy of Circular Letter Addressed to Mrs. Baker 
Arch Below 1 1 th Street 

A number of Gentlemen, Stockholders and others, 
have taken much interest in an effort to reconstruct the 
Academy of the Fine Arts, which was recently visited by 
a destructive fire. They have been pleased to invite 
co-operation from their female friends. If the master 
spirits of the human race, the Lords of this fair creation, 
are willing in an hour of need, to confess the value of 
assistance from the feebler sex, there will be nothing 
intrusive or indelicate in the acceptance of so flattering 
an invitation. A tribute at once so unusual and agree- 

A few ladies having consented to put their shoulders 
to a wheel, set in motion by stronger hands than theirs, 
though yet deep in the mire, would imitate the Mouse 
in the Fable, which, by persevering use of its small 
means, relieved the Lion from the net. If then, they 
may, on this occasion produce a corresponding effect, 
may they not be permitted, for once, to quit the quiet 
and unpretending routine of domestic charities, to aid 
the noble exertions of their leaders in this benevolent 
enterprise. They cordially invite the assistance of all 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

who are willing hearted and nimble fingered; tasteful 
in constructing and ingenious in executing works of 
fancy and of female skill. The products of pencil or 
pen, needle, spindle or shuttle; knitting or netting 
needles ; braiding or bead work ; embroidery, feather or 
shell work; in short, all the Sister Arts are called on, 
to combine in the grand scheme of raising up and adorn- 
ing the walls of their beloved Academy. 

"As mole hills piled to mountains rise," none need be 
deterred from contributing small offerings to the Grand 
Bazaar. The spirit that gives according to its means 
is both just and generous ; and the female who can spare 
a few hours of ingenious labour, is no less a benefactress, 
than she. who out of her abundance, has the privilege 
of making a large donation. 

From the beautiful stores that adorn our City, an 
interest in this undertaking may be confidently expected. 
A taste for the Fine Arts, is frequently cultivated by 
those so constantly examining the splendid fabrics of the 
Useful Arts, and taste and liberality should grow with 
the wealth they produce. Aid from these fashionable 
marts (jewellery and fancy articles of every kind) is 
respectfully solicited. 

In addition to the places of residence of the members 
of the Committee and of the Directors a place of deposit 
for contributions will be opened at No. 66 Walnut Street, 
between the hours of 9 and 3 ; and tables at the Bazaar 
provided; to display them to best advantage. 

The name of each contributor should accompany the 
articles sent, that distance as well as domestic patrons, 
may be acknowledged and appreciated. 

A committee appointed from among the Lady-Pa- 
tronesses, will receive and arrange all articles that come 
into their possession, during the period preceding the 
opening of the Bazaar. Ladies at their Summer re- 
treats, may like the industrious Ant, be providing for 
the coming season and bring their shining stores, in 
bright October to the Fair Bazaar, while those who 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

labour or collect within the City, may deposit as above, 
at their own convenience. 

Miss Gratz, 2 Boston Row. 

Mrs. John C. Montgomery, 233 Pine St. 

Miss Percival, Broad & Locust Sts. 

Mrs. Henry D. Gilpin, 99 Walnut St. 

Mrs. Peter, 68 South 4th Street 

Mrs. John W. Field, 3 Belmont Row, 
Spruce St. 
Committee. Miss Sally Peters, 18 Girard Street 

Mrs. Doctr. Y. G. Nancrede, Walnut & 10th 

Mrs. George M. Dallas, 259 Walnut Street 

Mrs. John Sergeant, 89 South 4th St. 

Mrs. Thomas Biddle, 8 York Buildings, 
Walnut St. 

Mrs. H. Pratt McKean, Spruce above tenth 
Philadelphia, July the 30th 1845. 

Miss Eliza Sibley, daughter of Dr. John Sibley, of 
Natchitoches, Louisiana, married Josiah Stoddard John- 
ston, who was a Senator of that State. A charming 
widow she was and she married the handsome Henry 
Dilwood Gilpin. 

Mr. Gilpin was a talented lawyer and his talent re- 
warded him with honors and riches. He was the U. S. 
District Attorney at Philadelphia, Solicitor of the Treas- 
ury; and during Van Buren's administration Attorney- 
General. He wrote much. His works include a Biog- 
raphy of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence. 
Under the auspices of Congress he edited the Madison 
Papers, published in three octavo volumes. He reported 
the Cases of the U. S. District Court for the Eastern 
District of Pennsylvania. He had a distinct literary 
leaning and an artistic sense. His numerous papers for 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

periodicals give this proof. He travelled abroad and was 
the recipient of special courtesies. He was of the man- 
agement of the University of Pennsylvania and Girard 
College. He was vice-president of the Historical Society 
of Pennsylvania;* and President of the Pennsylvania 
Academy of Fine Arts. Mr. Gilpin was born in Lan- 
caster, England. 

Phila October 22d 1845 
My dear M r s Madison 

I received the E v s before last, your most valuable & 
acceptable package — & hasten as one of the Managers 
of the Bazaar to return you my very sincere thanks — 
your kind & prompt manner of doing so great a favor, 
adds greatly to its value & I assure you it is highly ap- 
preciated by us — We look with emotion, & with ven- 
eration upon the letters of those great & good men (now 
all gathered to their Father) but whose acts remain, 
as bright and splendid examples to others — & for your 
own beautiful manuscript, again let me very truly thank 
you, my dear M rs Madison — I am sure you will be 
pleased to hear that the exertions of the Ladies have 
proved entirely successful & when the receipts are all 
returned & some remaining valuable articles disposed 
of — the sum realised will exceed ten thousand dollars 
— this with the aid of the gentlemen will, we trust re- 
build the academy & leave a fund to add to the Paint- 
ings. I hope my dear M rs Madison that you have en- 
tirely recovered from the effects of your indisposition & 
may have no return of it during the autumn. Would 
not a little change of air, & scene benifit you, — you 
know you have cordial & kind friends here to greet 
you & first among them, my Husband & myself — I beg 
you to present me affectionately to your niece — & re- 

*Portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Gilpin in the Historical Society of 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ceive the assurances of M r Gilpin & my unchanged 
interest & sincere regard — 

Very affectionately, 

Yrs Eliza Gilpin 

99, Walnut St 


Mrs. Madison's ancient friend, Samuel Harrison 
Smith, died November 1, 1845. The gazetteers omit 
his appointment by President Madison, of date Septem- 
ber 30, 1814, to perform the duties of the Secretary of 
the Treasury. The biographical sketch in the Daily 
National Intelligencer, December 2, 1845, concludes: 

It only remains for us to add that the evening of his 
life of blameless purity and simplicity found him con- 
scious, prepared and tranquil; and, that, having lived 
the life of a Philosopher, he gave, to the friends who 
surrounded him in his last moments, a lesson how a 
Christian ought to die. 

Richard Dominicus Cutts and Martha Jefferson Hack- 
ley were married December 16, 1845. The wedding was 
at Norfolk, Va., and Mrs. Madison's niece, Mary, was 
of the out-of-town visitors. She says the bride was the 
only one not excited. 

Harriet Taylor Upton has relative to Mrs. Madison's 
reception in honor of the new united couple: 

To the close of life she wore the dress she had liked 
many years before, and looked like a picture in it always 
— an historical portrait. This costume worn on all 
state occasions — and there were many, for the mansion 
on Lafayette Square was to the President's house like 
the residence of the Queen Dowager — was a black vel- 
vet gown, with leg-of-mutton sleeves, and a short waist; 
the skirt in full gathers ; it opened upon the breast and 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

was filled in with a good deal of white tulle rising to 
a ruff about the face. Upon her hair was a turban of 
white satin covered with clouds of white tulle; and 
thrown about her shoulders with a Frenchwoman's grace 
was a favorite satin scarf of rich stripes in the Roman 
colors. So appareled, she presided at one of the last 
gayeties in the house on Lafayette Square. * * * 
It was an immense reception; all the great people of 
Washington were there, for together with the respect 
affectionately due Mrs. Madison, both bride and bride- 
groom were old favorites in Maryland and Virginia 
society, and all the evening there was a throng pressing 
in at the front door and issuing at the back as at a 
Presidential levee. The young pair spent six months 
with Mrs. Madison.* 

I salute you dear M rs Clarke with a kifs from the 
Bridal store but in my own spirit — The President was 
too ill to appear — his handsome and pleasant lady, how- 
ever, caused us to forget in a measure, the misfortune. 

Truly yours 

D. P. Madison 

To Mrs. Madison: 

My dear Neighbor — The carriage is going out this 
morning and will call for you — what time will you be 
ready to go — Suit your convenience, as it makes no 
difference, to me — 

Your sincere friend, 

Anna R. Clarke. 

Richard Smith's acknowledgment to Mrs. Madison : 

Jan: 1, 1846 
My dear Madam 

I am truly thankful for your remembrance of me; 
& the handsome & curious little souvenir shall be cher- 
ished as a testimonial of your regard. I only repeat a 

*Our Early Presidents, Their Wives and Children. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

hacknied expression in wishing you much happinefs in 
this New Year, but it is the earnest prayer of my heart 
that you may long live to enable your friends to testify 
how much they respect & love you. 

Ever yours — 
Mrs: Madison Rd Smith 

The memory of the Rev. Mr. Pyne in St. John's will 
not be outliven. The Hon. Mr. Hagner says he was called 
through the influence of the Hon. John C. Spencer and in 
his History of St. John's Church, further says : 

He was a man of elegant education and of fine mind 
and literary attainments, and was certainly one of the 
most effective preachers of our Church at that day; and 
was especially noted for his fine rendition of the Scrip- 
tures, which he read with remarkable beauty of enun- 
ciation and pathos. He was a brilliant conversation- 
alist, and had a good deal of the wit and plain talk 
that reminded one of the accounts of the many-sided 
"Sidney" whom he somewhat resembled in his tastes 
and acquirements. 

To Mrs. Madison : 

My dearest Friend 

Had you sought through the world you could not 
have made me a more acceptable & appropriate gift — 
In spite of the law against the right of primogeniture 
it shall be an heir loom, for two generations at least — 
My son John will inherit it & prize it, when we, I trust 
through the blefsed faith we hold in common, shall be 
the common recipients of those blefsings which God has 
in store for his children. 

* * * 

God blefs and preserve you many years here, and 
crown them with "long life ever for ever." 
With devoted affection 

Yr friend & Pastor 
Jany 1st 1846. Smith Pyne 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The draught may have been bitter but there a cur- 
ing cordial in the way the medicine was proffered by 
Mrs. Madison. 

Cherish confidence in thy Doctrefs sweet friend and 
take this Tincture morning & night — one teaspoon in 
water. — 

Of the wife of the President with whom Mrs. Madi- 
son was most intimate was the wife of Mr. Polk. During 
his residence in the Capital City as Speaker of the House 
of Representatives (1835-'39), Mrs. Madison and Mrs. 
Polk often sat at the same table. That the Tylers were 
to be retired gave Mrs. Madison regret; that the Polks 
were to succeed gave her elation. Mrs. Polk eschewed 
cards and dances and the frivolities. She was simple and 
sincere. She made a handsome hostess. 

Of the levee, January 21, 1846: 

This evening the President for the first time received 
his friends at the White House, and if a large and 
highly respectable assemblage could gratify him. he had 
no cause of complaint. * * * 

It was one of the most interesting incidents of the 
evening to see Mrs. Madison promenade the East Room, 
with the appearance of almost youthful agility.* 

A part is taken of a guest's description of a levee : 

In the centre of the room stands the President, will- 
ing to shake as many people by the hand as may be 
presented to him while his strength lasts; and a fine 
gentlemanly man he is. Democrat or no Democrat. 

At his right hand you will probably discover Mr. 
Marcy, the Secretary of the War. There is also Mr. 

*The Story of the White House. Esther Singleton. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Dallas, performing acts of civility with the air of a 
perfect courtier to every one. Behind the President 
stands Mrs. Polk, whom I will uphold on any and every 
occasion of your attending the levee to be one of the 
finest women in the room. You will probably find her 
supported by an elderly lady in a black turban, who you 
will know at once is Mrs. Madison; behind them will 
be twenty or thirty young ladies standing at ease, laugh- 
ing and flirting with young M.C.'s among whom not the 
least conspicuous for gallantry and gentlemanly deport- 
ment will be Judge Douglas of Illinois. 
* * * 

To the East Room you repair, then; and find a spa- 
cious apartment splendidly furnished and brilliantly il- 
luminated. There is comparative stillness here; the 
conversation is more moderate, but the ferocious trum- 
pets and clarionets are outside the folding-doors, and 
the least provocation in the world will arouse their 
anger. The great amusement of the evening now com- 
mences; all before has been merely preparatory. This 
popular court pastime consists in solemnly promenading 
round the room in pairs. * * * 

Senators, Ministers, Congressmen, mechanics, clerks, 
and would-be-clerks are there, leading ladies belonging 
to every stage in society, from the fashionable belle of 
the higher circles to the more fashionable seamstress. 
Solemnly and without pause, they perform their slow 
gyrations, while a group of young men in the centre 
survey their motions, quizzing their dresses and general 
appearance. The whole affair seems to have been got 
up for the amusement of this knot of spectators, some 
of whom are preparing mental notes descriptive of the 
satin of Miss A., the beaming eyes of Miss B., the gal- 
lantry of Gen. C. and the stateliness of Col. D., for the 
papers throughout the Union. 

The dresses of the ladies form a subject for abstruse 
study. Half an hour's contemplation is sufficient to 
distract any man of common mind. * * * 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Some men parade in gravity, some are merry and 
others are foppish; there is a good sprinkling of mili- 
tary and naval uniforms, and there are a few horny- 
faced strangers who are — Ah ye narcotic gods! — chew- 
ing tobacco. Soon the company increases ; a few ladies, 
exhausted by their peripatetic labors, seat themselves on 
sofas; groups of gentlemen congregate around them to 
talk nonsense and look killing. Count Bodisco holds 
a private levee at one end of the room, and all the world 
is introduced. The French, British and other Ambas- 
sadors cluster together, glittering in uniforms and the 
crosses of foreign orders and frightful moustaches and 
beards. Mr. Polk is forgotten — the gold lace and bril- 
liant swords usurp all attention. Such introducing, such 
scraping, such curtseying, such jabbering of foreign 
compliments and violent efforts of some of our people 
to do the polite in uncouth tongues — such a wild clamor 
of conversation rages — the band, too, has become insane 
and the room is oppressively warm, when the President 
enters leading a lady — probably Mrs. Madison, and fol- 
lowed by Mrs. Polk and all the great people of Wash- 

The noise increases, the complimenting and bowing 
go on worse than ever; the band has taken matters in 
its own hands and the instruments have become un- 
governable ; the promenading ceases. The President 
has a word for every one, and all mingle together in 
irregular groups chatting and laughing and coquetting, 
until unable any longer to bear such tumult you rush 
distractedly from the room, and give the young "nigger" 
who has charge of your hat and cloak a shilling for his 
trouble, which generosity he gratefully repays by pre- 
senting you with an ancient chapeau in the last stages 
of existence.* 

Mrs. Madison made an exception to Dr. Franklin's 
debt observations, to wit: that '^Creditors have better 

*The Story of the White House. Esther Singleton. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

memories than Debtors and that the debtor who cannot 
pay promptly fears to face his creditor." 

Washington March 24th 1846 

Dear Friend — I ought to have written my apology 
and explanation on the subject of my debt to you, some 
time ago — and can only hope for your forgivenefs by 
telling you of my difficulties which "lengthen as I go" 
— My hope of emancipation from them has kept me 
patiently looking forward to the purchase by this Con- 
grefs of my Husband's writings — but the early day is 
yet in perspective when I may return your kind loan 
and its interest, for the last twelve months. 

I had the pleasure to see your grand sons the Mefs rs 
Langdon during their short visit to Washington — as 
well as M r Cogswell, who promised me a second visit, 
but did not come. 

Accept from me, with your wonted goodnefs, this 
explanation of my delinquency, and believe me, with 
wishes for your happinefs, your constant friend. 
John Jacob Astor Esq r 
New York 

General Walter Jones was nationally famous for eru- 
dition in the law and for his purity of language. He 
was "a well of English pure and undefiled." His prac- 
tice was important and he was counsel in causes celebres 
among which the Girard and Myra Clark Gaines. He 
had a part in the Bladensburg battle but it was not on 
account of that, that President Monroe made him a Briga- 
dier-General or that he arose to the higher rank, Major- 

Yet now and then your men of wit 
Will condescend and take a bit. (vanity) 

— Swift. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

And if it was a vanity, the truly great Walter Jones 
had his bit, for to him it was a fascination — "in full uni- 
form, with blue saddle cloth embroidered with gold" — 
to ride "at its head on all public occasions — inaugurations 
and funerals of Presidents, etc."* 

General Jones in his declining days lived with Dr. and 
Mrs. Thomas Miller. Mrs. Miller was Miss Virginia 
Jones, the daughter of the General; and Miss Harriotte 
Jones, was another daughter. Mr. Miller was the Physi- 
cian of the city and in the continuous administrations in- 
cluding Harrison and Buchanan, he was the President's 
physician. Sir William Howard Russell, correspondent 
of the London Times, has given him the title "The Great 
Virginia Doctor." He had all the honors of the profes- 
sion ; and to the limit, his practice would permit, he gave 
his time to other than health direction for the public bene- 
fit. Dr. and Mrs. Miller, at first, lived with Mrs. Thorn- 
ton on F street. She sat in the Miller pew and always 
had an escort in one of the Miller family to and from 
service. Dr. Miller after living elsewhere (E street near 
Fourteenth), bought the historic Thornton house and 
there permanently lived and by his hospitality added to 
its historic record. It stands today still erect but in its 
old age much altered. Its original number was 346; 
present 133 l.f 

Genl <$• M r s Jones will be happy to see M rs Madison 
on Thursday evening 14th a t g o'clock. — 

Mrs. Madison to Mifs Harriet Jones: 

These early peeping peas and blushing radishes await 
the fostering hand and beaming eye of my sweet young 

* Walter Jones and His Times. Fanny Lee Jones. Records of 
the Columbia Historical Society. 

fDr. Thomas Miller and His Times. Virginia Miller. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

friend Harriet when they will embelish her table and 
soothe her impatience at their tardy perfection. 


I send you a few Specimens of German Scenery which 
you will please divide with Sisters for me. 
April 2d 1846 

The sisters Jones did divide the pictures and to this 
day they are highly prized. 

My dear kind Friend 

My Sisters join me in grateful thanks for your beau- 
tiful present. The scenes are most beautiful and we 
have all been very happy this morning examining them 
— we have each made choice of that which pleased us 
best, and shall always preserve it, as a memento of our 
Father's dear and valued friend. The fine seed you 
have been so kind as to send me, I shall sow with care, 
and with them try to cultivate patience, and enjoy the 
anticipation of their beauty and perfection — tho I fear 
much this same patience will be sown with the seed 
and unfortunately wait to Spring up with them too — 
not so however the seed of Love which your kindnefs 
has planted in my heart — it is already Springing up in 
true affection, and sending out many warm wishes for 
your health and happinefs and all the best blef sings of 
Providence. Papa and my Sisters send their best love 
to you and to Annie. 

affectionately y rs 

Harriotte Jones 

April 4th (1846) 


Mrs. T. Miller 

At home Every Tuesday Morning 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

My dear M rs Madison 

I anticipated the pleasure of pafsing this evening with 
you, but have been prevented by the sufferings of my 
pet from violent inflammation of the eyes. 

Please present my affectionate regards to your niece 
Mifs Payne, her kind mefsage to father was duly de- 
livered, he felt much flattered & if his health permitted 
would have enjoyed a pleasant Evening with you both, 
for the last few days he has been very unwell, 
believe me 

most truly yrs 
Friday Virginia Miller 

Apl 23d 46— 

— My Dearest — It has been too long since I was 
cheered with a line from you — What are you about that 
prevents your communicating with your Mother? You 
are taking special care of our mutual property of every 
sort, I trust — & my confidence in you to restore it to 
me is not diminished by the sad & tedious time in which 
I have been deprived of its use — a part of the furniture 
I wished to divide with you, & a part of it desired to 
sell but I wished to be with you & together choose what 
best to dispose of. * * * 


Mother ! 

Mrs. Lear, May 2, 1846, invited Mrs. Madison to sit 
with her in the Van Ness pew, St. John's Church, which 
she thought of occupying thereafter. 

To Mrs. Lear: 

— Many thanks dear Friend — your fruit is sweeter 
than ours — I wish we could say quite well but that is 
not the case tho' we are bustling about yet — Anna will 
go to a Bridal party this evening — I decline on account 
of a promise to see Kalorama but there & everywhere 
we "think of thee my love." 

D. P. Madison. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Says Mrs. Smith, November 7, 1831:* 

Madame Iturbide, the former Empress of Mexico, is 
close to us. 

Sister Gertrude, the nun, who last spring escaped 
from the convent at George Town, is an inmate of her 
family, in fact, an adopted daughter and has the whole 
charge of her three daughters. Sister Gertrude I knew 
well in her childhood, saw now and then through the 
convent grate and on one occasion when accidently alone 
with her, offered if she wished to leave it, to communi- 
cate her desire to her relatives, but she then said she 
was confined more by her own inclination, than by her 
vows, or the walls that surrounded her. 

Says Ben: Perley Poore:f 

Miss Ann G. Wightt, a cousin of Mrs. Van Ness, 
created a great sensation in Washington by coming to 
her house for a home. She was a runaway nun from 
the Convent of the Visitation in Georgetown, and had 
been known in the community as Sister Gertrude. No 
one ever knew rightly the cause of her sudden depart- 
ure from the convent. Some said it was disappointed 
ambition in not being appointed superioress; others, that 
it was a case of love; but she never told, and the ladies 
of the convent were just as reticent. She became an 
inmate of the elegant Van Ness mansion and was a 
noted and brilliant woman in society. It was said that 
she had written a book, exposing the inner life of the 
convent, to be published after her death, but I have 
never heard of its appearance. A few years after she 
left the convent she accompanied the family of the 
American Minister to Spain, and resided for some time 
at Madrid, where she was a great favorite in Court 

*Forty Years of Washington Society. 

fPerley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Me- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Says Mrs. Kate Kearney Henry: 

She was a cousin of Mrs. Van Ness, being a niece 
of Mrs. David Burns, who was a Miss Ann Wight of 
Charles Co., Md. * * * She was a most charming 
person in her manners and conversation, and was sought 
as an honored guest on all distinguished occasions. 

My dear M rs Madison 

Some friends of mine, wish me to accompany them 
to Mount Vernon tomorrow, & although I have been 
there several times within the last ten years, I do not 
feel sufficiently well acquainted to introduce them. 

Will you have the goodnefs to write me a line of 
introduction? you can say "Mifs Wightt of Washing- 
ton & party &c &c 

I am going down on the Avenue now & on my re- 
turn will call for the note hoping it will be convenient 
for you to give it to me, & to have it ready by that 
time. I trust Anna has entirely recovered & that you 
are perfectly well. 

Some evening during this or the coming week, I 
promise myself the pleasure of taking Tea with you. 
Yours most affectionately &c 

Ann G. Wightt* 
Wednesday noon 

May 20th 1846 

J. Eastman Johnson, who rose to eminence in art, in 
his stepping stone days executed portraits in black and 

Dear Mrs. Madison — 

I am very much obliged to you for your patience in 
permitting me to keep the picture of Mr. Madison until 
now — I hope I have not been charged with neglect in 
a disposition to take advantage of your politenefs in 
retaining it so long, though perhaps I deserve it — 

*Died at Richmond, Va., November 19, 1867. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

If you will please not forget the little memorial which 
you promised me of your signature &c, you will in- 
crease my obligation to you & very much gratify, 
Yours very respectfully 

J. Eastman Johnson 
Saturday May 23d (1846) 

Thursday, May 21, to Wednesday, June 3, 1846. 

Forgotten! The citizens' (of Washington) greatest 
exhibition of enterprise; an example for emulation. It 
was a fair for the display, encouragement and advance- 
ment of American manufactures. No other was on so 
extensive scale until the Centennial in Philadelphia in 
1876 but that was international. Multitudes paid the 
shilling to enter and went in. The newspapers devoted 
daily detailed descriptions. W. W. Seaton was the chair- 
man of the committee of superintendence; the oftiers of 
the committee in their activity forgot to get their names 
in print. The ladies' association had the refreshment 
rights and spent the substantial profits on the poor — 
very poor, then. 

Mrs. Madison gave the Fair the approval of her 

On Wednesday, May 27th, the trustees, teachers and 
pupils of the public schools, matrons and children of 
orphan asylums were guests and marched in procession 
to the pavilions ; and continued on the rotunda and parks 
of the Capitol. The pupils mustered four hundred and 
the orphans two hundred and fifty. And, a part of Fri- 
day afternoon, the 29th, was appropriated to the admis- 
sion of people of color. 

Too much space cannot be assigned this important 
item of local and national history and from the resume 
of the Daily National Intelligencer, June 4, is taken thus: 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The National Fair closed finally last night at ten 
o'clock agreeably to the published notice some days ago. 
This great exemplification of American ingenuity, pro- 
jected and prosecuted under some doubts of its success, 
has far more than equalled the highest hopes of the 
patriotic gentlemen who originated and carried it for- 
ward. During the entire fortnight that it has been 
open, its immense saloons have been thronged by day 
and crowded by night with interested and gratified spec- 
tators, who have come hither from all quarters to view 
its treasures. * * * We can only say that the Na- 
tional Fair has been a source of pleasure and instruction 
to the thousands who have visited it, and of no little 
advantage, we believe, to our National Metropolis ; that 
we feel that our city is much indebted to the liberal 
contributors to whose public spirit we owe it ; and we 
trust that they will find in the success of their experi- 
ment a sufficient inducement to repeat it periodically, 
or occasionally, hereafter. 

Brooklyn, N. Y. 
To July 4, 46 

Mrs D. P. Madison 
Dear Madam, 

* * * Your old friend M r Astor is very feeble. 

He is at hurl-gate, and may linger on awhile longer, 
but can have no pleasure in life. I am told by those 
who best know him that his relish for wealth is as keen 
as ever : That gone, he is gone. 

I hope you continue to enjoy your accustomed health? 
May it be long continued to you. Where is your son? 
And how is he? How thin'd has the tree become of 
its leaves — I mean how many of those once known to 
us both have dropt off! 

* * * 

Ever yours 

Tho. L: McKenney 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Maj. McKenney* came to Mr. Madison with a note of 
introduction from Gen. Van Ness. It was dated July 28, 
1814. The Major came with a suggestion stated in the 
note — "the project of calling into the field a battalion of 
militia of the District during the agitation and alarm pro- 
duced by the menaces of the enemy." A little later, Sep- 
tember 2, from Camp Windmill Point, below Windmill 
Hill (old Naval Observatory), in the city on the Potomac 
he wrote the President. And during the war he fought 
and wrote. When the fighting ceased, he did not cease 
writing ; and had Mr. Madison as a correspondent. And 
when Mr. Madison passed on, Mrs. Madison was the suc- 

Maj. McKenney was the proprietor of the country-seat 
Weston, on the Tennallytown road, not far above George- 
town, from some time in 1817 and for several years. 
The mansion of wood was commanding; it was latterly 
known as Ruthven Lodge. It, in 1911, fell before subur- 
ban extension. The kingdom of leaves was a veritable 
Eden. A sequestered path the Major called the Dolly 
Madison Walk. The Major, always enthusiastic, dedi- 
cated his attainment and life-work for the advancement 
of the American aborigines. He wrote several treatises 
on the Indian and that in conjunction with James Hall of 
Cincinnati was a success from the standards of artistic 
embellishment and literary merit. f Maj. McKenney 
quotes these charming lines, so like a setting of gems: 

*Voluntary aid-de-camp to Brigadier-General Walter Smith of 
D. C. militia. Was in the Bladensburg affair. 

fAttached to the War Department, is the office of Indian Af- 
fairs, with the duties of which Col. McKenney is charged. * * * 
In it are arrayed, in tasteful order, the likenesses of one hundred 
and thirty Indian chiefs, in their native costume. These likenesses 
having been taken from life, (with a few exceptions) by King, of 
this city, are not only fine specimens of the art, but in point of 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Ye say their cone — like cabins 

That clustered o'er the vale, 
Have disappeared as withered leaves 

Before the autumn gale; 
But their memory liveth on your hills, 

Their baptism on your shore; 
Your ever rolling rivers speak, 

Their dialect of yore. 

Something of Maj. McKenney's style can be gained 
from his defiant sentiments in declamatory sentences in 
the first letter herein reproduced and the other letters 
in gentler mood. 

The cultured Ella Loraine Dorsey has contributed this 
sketch of Colonel Thomas Loraine McKenney: 

He was twenty years Commissioner of Indian affairs : 
he held a commission in the war of '12: he was the son 
of Wm. McKenney of Kent Co. Md., and his wife Anne 
Barber: * * * he was descended from the famous 
Quaker preacher Sarah Grubb : he was interested in the 
Liberian Colony: he was extremely active at the time of 
the Irish famine in procuring and sending the corn ships 
to Ireland : he was an old line Whig and as such suffered 
from the Jacksonian policy : but his office "was offered to 
twenty gentlemen, before one could be found willing to 
take it from a blameless gentleman a position of trust he 
had filled acceptably for twenty years." 

The trip he made with Gen. Cass was remarkable: 
his North American Indians is standard. 

exact delineation, and spirited, and close resemblance to the origi- 
nals, they are perfect. * * * How deeply interesting would it 
be, were Col. McKenney to embody all he knows of the history 
and biography of these Indians, thus represented in his office ; and 
intersperse it with the anecdotes which relate to so many of them. 
— Historical Sketches of the Ten Miles Square. Jonathan Elliot. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

His death took place in N. Y. City in 185 — while on 
a journey. 

His name among the Indians was "The White Eagle," 
from his crest of beautiful white hair and bold features. 
He was much trusted and beloved by them, and no treaty 
was ever broken either by the white or red people during 
his long encumbency. 

He married Miss Editha Gleaves, but she and his only 
son died and he never remarried. 

The battle, while Commissioner, with the Chateaus 
and other fur traders of Missouri who sought to ruin 
him, because he would not allow their traders to have 
liquor of any sort at the annual fur markets, or fall trade, 
is as spirited as any of the modern commercial battles 
known. They carried it so far as to mutilate the govern- 
ment's books and carry it to Congress through Benton 
their Senator. 

Mrs. Madison to Mrs. Polk : 

You have given me a great gratification in the injunc- 
tion to answer your kind note — I wish I could do so in a 
manner to entitle it to a place in your valued f ds Book but 
I feel consciousnefs of a dull spirit which for the last 
three months has bound me in the fear of loosing a very 
precious niece — whose health is now being restored, & 
mine in consequence is reviving — I will therefore add to 
this note affte salutations for you, & for your f d whom 
henceforth I shall claim thro you but whose book I must 
not injure by a sombre thought. 

2d Sept. 46. 

The letter of Mrs. Madison to Mr. Bancroft refers to 
the change — Secretary of the Navy to Minister to Great 
Britain. Mr. Bancroft had been a guest of the Madi- 
sons at Montpellier (March- April, 1836) and there came 
to be a family friendship. Mr. Bancroft was also the 
Minister to Germany yet is best known by his History 
of the United States. The Bancrofts, 1874, removed to 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Washington for permanency. He had pleasure in his 
intimacy with national notables and in the three Rs — 
reading, riding and roses. The remembrance is yet with 
many of a small, slight gentleman, white-bearded, with 
German military cap, astride a large horse. He was an 
amateur at rose culture. He delighted to correspond 
with the fraternity of "rosarians." His place at New- 
port was Roseclyffe. A popular rose is the "George Ban- 
croft." His home in Washington, 1623 H street, N.W., 
had an 1-yard in which legions of roses thrived. Under 
Mr. Bancroft's tutelage his gardener, John Brady, de- 
veloped the American Beauty. The Bancrofts, 1845-'6, 
lived in 1651 Pennsylvania avenue — the Blair mansion; 
and is said to have lived also in 21 Madison Place — the 
Benjamin Ogle Tayloe mansion. Mrs. Bancroft, the 
second, was before Mrs. Elizabeth Davis Bliss.* 

My dear Mrs. Madison, 

Miss Annie I presume is going to Mrs. Jessup's this 
evening and if you are not going there will you give us 
the pleasure of your company at dinner today at half 
past five. I will send the carriage for you if you will 
allow me. I have one or two Boston friends with me 
whom I should like to introduce to you. 
Yours with very 

high regard 

E. D. Bancroft 

Mrs. Madison to Mr. Bancroft: 

I thank you valued f d for the kind present of apostleck 
rec d from you this Morg — you have as well as your lovely 
lady been so good to my little patient & myself during 
our too short acquaintance, that it is impossible to say 
how much we lament the seperation now at hand — so 

*Life and Letters of George Bancroft. M. A. DeWolffe Howe. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

likely to continue thro life — will you both permit me in 
any case, to afsure you of my constant regard and af- 
fection — with every wish for your safety and happinefs. 
Sept. 14th 46. 

Do not imagine from my silence sweet f d that my 
gratitude for your magnificent present is not comnsurate 
with its size & my taste — I w d ( ?) 

on the occasion but for an aching head — I hope when 
the sun shines again I may again see you to tell that I 
shall keep my potato as I would a rose & how highly I 
estimate the prize from your kindnefs & how affection- 
ately I am always 


D. P. M. 

To Mrs Polk 

Nov 6th 46— 

Boston, October 9, 1846. 

My Dear Sir, — I was greatly grieved, before leaving 
Washington, to learn through some friends of the desti- 
tute condition of Mrs. Madison, and resolved to see if 
something in the shape of permanent and periodical relief 
could not be provided for her by those richer than my- 
self. I think that means may be procured among us close- 
fisted, dividend-loving Yankees for buying her a little 
annuity, say of four or five hundred dollars per annum, 
for the remainder of her life, if it be thought worth while 
to do so. In order that we may do this, however, it will 
be necessary to know her precise age, as that will deter- 
mine the cost, — and as the older she is the larger the 
annuity will be for the same money, it is desirable that 
she should not use the proverbial privilege of her sex on 
this subject. Two or three points, then, I should like to 
be assured of, viz. : — 

1. Whether Mrs. Madison's circumstances are really 
such as to make such an arrangement desirable for her. 

2. If so, her exact age in years; if her birthday could 
be ascertained it might be best. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

3. How such a provision could best be communicated 
to her after it is made up, without occasioning her any 
feelings of delicacy or mortification, or even obligation. 

Pray do not yet commit anybody to this arrangement, 
as there may still be a "slip betwixt the cup and the lip." 
But Mr. Webster and I have a notion that we can accom- 
plish the matter if we try. 

With kind regards to Mrs. Seaton, 

Yours most truly and respectfully, 

Robert C. W r inthrop. 

Hon. W. W. Seaton. 

The biographer of the intermediary is the authority 
that the unobtrusive proffer of the northern gentleman 
was delicately put aside by the southern gentlewoman. ■ 

Paul Jennings was a servant of Mr. Webster. His 
recollections run thus: 

Mrs. Madison was a remarkably fine woman. She was 
beloved by everybody in Washington, white and colored. 
Whenever soldiers marched by, during the war, she al- 
ways sent out and invited them in to take wine and re- 
freshments, giving them liberally of the best in the house. 
Maderia wine was better in those days than now, and 
more freely drank. In the last days of her life, before 
Congress purchased her husband's papers, she was in a 
state of absolute poverty, and I think sometimes suffered 
for the necessaries of life. While I was a servant to Mr. 
Webster, he often sent me to her with a market-basket 
full of provisions, and told me whenever I saw anything 
in the house that I thought she was in need of, to take it 
to her. I often did this, and occasionally gave her small 
sums from my own pocket, though I had years before 
bought my freedom of her. 

Paul Jennings had been Mr. Madison's valet; and 
Mrs. Madison's servant. The presents of manumission 
are dated July 8, 1845, and recite the consideration to be 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

"the faithful services of my man servant * * * and 
the sum of two hundred dollars." Mrs. Madison pre- 
served a letter caused to be written by Jennings when a 
slave thanking her for leave of absence to visit his sick 

Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn, although of the 
northland, in the southland was educated. He on vaca- 
tional visits to his parents, his father was the Secretary 
of War, met the genial Mrs. Dolly who always endeared 
herself to youth. Mr. Dearborn was of the civil and 
military rule of Massachusetts. He promoted Mount 
Auburn Cemetery and founded Forest Hills. Horticul- 
ture was his main hobby and he had a great garden at 
Roxbury. He was the first president of the Massachu- 
setts Horticultural Society; and he notified Mr. Madison 
of his election as an honorary member. He wrote : 

Hawthorn Cottage 

Roxbury Jany 1, 1847 
My Dear Madam, 

* * * Often do I go back in thought to that de- 
lightful period, when my honoured parents resided in 
Washington & of the intimacy which existed between 
our family & your estimable household. Such reminis- 
cences "are pleasant, but mournful to the soul." 
With the highest respect from your 

most aft sert 

H. A. S. Dearborn 
Mrs. Madison. 

To Mrs. Madison: 

Tuesday 12 th Jany 47 
My beloved Friend 

Christmas and New Years day have pafsed & I have 
not had the pleasure of going to see you. I much hope 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

that you have escaped the Influenza which has of late 
prevailed so extensively — for my own part a severe cold 
attacked me some weeks ago with such serious symptoms 
I have found it necessary to keep in a warm room, and 
have not felt able to venture abroad in the last few weeks 
except twice to Church and from thence was compelled 
to hurry home — my poor hand too, has suffered by the 
changes in the weather — I am sorry to send so many 
complaints my beloved friend, but these alone have kept 
me from you — I hope dear Annie continues well, please 

give my love to her. my little L L Lear is now 

busily engaged with her lefsons, at school every day 
from ten till two o'clock — she is quite a robust consti- 
tution & goes out in all weather — I was glad she had 
an opportunity of paying her respects to you my dear 
friend on 1 st January. I should have taken her over 
often had I been able to be out — now I am looking for 
the return of a pleasant season when we shall meet as 
in former happy days and with all my love remain as 
ever yr own devoted 

F. D. Lear 

Mrs. Madison to Mrs. Lear: 

January 17 th 47 

My ever dear friend — can you continue to forgive 
me for an appearance of neglect towards you, whom I 
have thought & spoken of every day without the power 
to present myself to contradict this appearance — so un- 
true. It w d almost break my heart to see you in doubt 
of that affection so long deserved by you & of wh. you 
have deserved my gratitude — but I will come to the 
main matter & tell you that I have not had the power 
tho' determined every day to visit you, to exercise my 
•will, having no command over myself. 

Adieu for the present, with Annie's & my own love. 

To Mrs. Madison: 

My beloved Friend — 

I received your most welcome note with a sweet pres- 
ent on Sunday evening. I wanted to write then, but 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

was prevented by persons coming in at the time. I 
could only send a mefsage — * * * My dear friend 
I regret that we so seldom meet — but in this season 
I can scarcely venture out, I am anticipating the return 
of Spring with fresh delight, that I may have the pleas- 
ure of coming to see you very often — time nor cir- 
cumstance will never make me doubt the warm affection 
cherished by yourself towards me. I have felt anxious 
about your health in all these changes but my neice 
Henriette afsured me you were better and able to con- 
tribute to the gratification of herself and others who 
so dearly appreciate your kindnefs — with my kind love 
to Annie I remain my beloved friend 
Your own devoted 

F. D. Lear 
Jany 20, 1847— 

Amos Lawrence was merchant and manufacturer. He 
accumulated mighty wealth from business and retired 
from it to distribute the wealth. His benefactions were 
in books; in books of his approval. His carriage would 
on the start be filled with books and on the return 
emptied of them; he passed them out to acquaintances 
and to strangers. He daily gave by barrels and by whole 
collections. Andrew Carnegie is the Amos Lawrence of 
this generation. 

To Amos Lawrence Esq r 
Boston — 

Washington, March, 1847 

Will you permit your unknown friend, dear Sir, to 
express her gratitude to you for a beautiful drefs from 
your manufactory so kindly sent me thro' the hands 
of our estimable M rs Davis and which I shall wear for 
your sake. 

D. P. M. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison determined the rescue of the portrait 
of Washington. She removed the picture from the wall 
and remained within the castle until the means of rescue 
should arrive. At the critical moment came two gentle- 
men who at her request bore the picture to a place of 
safety. Mrs. Madison conceived the rescue; the two 
gentlemen carried the action. Mrs. Madison is entitled 
to the credit; the two gentlemen declined any. Thirty- 
three and thirty-four years after, a claim of rescue was 
made for Charles Carroll by his son. This unfounded 
claim caused a controversial correspondence in the col- 
umns of the press which has the importance of a tempest 
in a teapot and a little more as it brings out contem- 
poraneous details of the invasion. 

Newport May 5*h 1847 
M r s J. Madison 

It has been my wish long since to publish the Narra- 
tive, which you will find in the Express, I send by to 
day's Mail, relating to the Saving of the Portrait of 
Washington. The credit has been given to others, & 
it affords me sincere pleasure, to be the means of plac- 
ing the facts before the Country, & to show that to you 
alone is to be attributed, the preservation of this valuable 
Picture of the Father of our Country. I hope your life 
may long be preserved, & if attachment for your char- 
acter, could be increased, this narrative cannot fail, to 
secure, the love & attachment of the Union, for your 
self possession, and patriotic feelings, manifested on 
the occasion referred to. 
I am 

With great respect 
Your Ob St 

Robt. G. L. DePeyster. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

"May prosperity and that peace which he seeks, be 
showered upon him!" Henry Clay was in retirement; 
at Ashland, in the State of physical perfection and nature 
in perfection he was resting. Mrs. Madison admired 
Mr. Clay for his ability and was grateful for the employ- 
ment of that ability for her. She was drawn to him by 
his charming conversation and his pleasing personality. 
Mr. Clay's first oratorical act in Congress was for a 
bridge over the Potomac. 

Aug. 23d 47— 
My dear M r s Seaton 

Your kind note of this morning is full of interest to 
me — your friend must ever feel as you do, a sister's 
affection for M r Clay — May prosperity & that peace 
which he seeks, be showered upon him! — I have been 
too ill all day to write & exprefs my whole mind to 
you. My best respects to Col. Rufsell — 

Always yours — 
Copied Truth in Mifs Josephine D. Rufsell's album. 

To Mary E. E. Cutts: 

Boston, April 30th 1847. 

My dear Mary 

* * * 

You can easily imagine the satisfaction I feel, in hav- 
ing actually accomplished, what for some years, has been 
so uppermost in my mind — a visit to Washt° n & a [ as t 
look at scenes so endeared, friends so beloved, for so 
long a time. I really found fewer changes than I could 
have expected, how much pleasure we had in seeing 
Mrs. Madison, my Mother's & Father's old Friend — » 
Dear Lady, how kind she was & how much we all love 
her. Charley & Lizzie will never forget her & we all 
feel to have only seen her, was well worth the journey 
to Washington. 


E. B. Crowninshield 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Miss Haswell was the daughter of Charles H. Has- 
well, Engineer-in-Chief, U. S. N. The Haswells resided 
on I between Thirteenth and Fourteenth streets. 

Mifs Haswell — enclosing lines on Temper. 

— Your nice little basket my sweet friend is filled 
on its return to you with my thanks — accept them— 
they will ever adhere to the mind so pure and kind as 

Affectionate salutations 
September 4th 1847. 

Mrs. Madison to Hannah H. Cutts, widow of her 
nephew, Thomas, directed to Danville, Kentucky: 

I hastened to send your letter my dear Niece by Maj : 
Ringgold — a kind gentleman who promised to deliver 
it himself — M r Buchanan having afsured me that it was 
the surest way of your brother's receiving it, as the 
public despatches were too often lost — I hope he will 
be cheered by reading it and that you my precious friend 
may be happy in the knowledge of a kind brother's 

I pray you to give many kifses for me to my sweet 
little girls Mary & Dora — & with all my affte regards 
to your Mother. I wish you & herself to be afsured 
that it will always give me pleasure to do any thing for 
you in this quarter. 

I would add an account of our pleasant City in which 
we have remained all the summer without illnefs accept 
a bilious fever to Annie of a weeks' continuance. 
Martha & Richard came back a week ago — R d is at- 
tached to you without a crofs thought in his head re- 
specting you — Mary has not yet returned tho a little 
homesick — she writes that she will be here the first of 
Oct. — My eye rebels & obliges me to say adieu with 
every aff te wish for your happinefs. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Virginia J. and Septemia were daughters of Mrs. Ran- 
dolph, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson. Of Mrs. Ran- 
dolph's seven daughters, Virginia was the eldest; Sep- 
temia, the youngest. Virginia married Nicholas P. Trist* 
— he was a diplomatist; Septemia married D. S. Meikle- 
ham — he was a doctor. Mrs. Randolph rounded out the 
dozen children by five sons. 

Mrs. Madison to Mrs. Trist, care of Dr. Meikleham, 
260 W. 20, N. Y. : 

Washington Sept 21st 1847 
My very dear Friend — 

As usual I have been delinquent in answering yr kind 
& welcome but the same weak eye existing on my part 
pleads for me with you & my precious Septimia — & 
augments that never dying affection for you, which 
dwells with me. I have been impatient to congratulate 
you on the happy success of our dear M r Trist, whose 
merit & glory will ever follow him & those he loves 
best. * * * I hope soon to see you all convened 
in F St listening to the sweet voices of daughters sisters 
& those beloved travellers with whom we long for a 
re-union. * * * 

All your acquaintances here enquire aff^y after you 
& when you will return — indeed I know few as highly 
esteemed as you. 

Between the letters to Mrs. Trist, September 21, and 
to her son, Payne, September 24, are three days. The 
letter to Mrs. Trist in the hour of her husband's honor 
in his selection to negotiate with Mexico, is in Mrs. Madi- 
son's happiest humor — extolling Mr. Trist's merit and 
Mrs. Trist's esteem. Mrs. Madison could for the occa- 

*Nicholas P. Trist, Chief Clerk of State Department, 1845; 
represented United States in peace negotiations with Mexico, 1848; 
consul at Havana; private secretary to President Jackson. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

sion so fully forget herself as to fully appreciate the state 
of others whether of fortune or misfortune, to felicitate 
or commiserate. A trait of Mrs. Madison is made evi- 
dent by the contrast of these two letters. Mrs. Seaton 
in her first observation of Mrs. Madison made her im- 
pression indelible — "but /, and I am by no means singular 
in the opinion, believe that Mrs. Madison's conduct would 
be graced by propriety were she placed in the most ad- 
verse circumstances of life." The impression had the 
prophetic with it. The letter to her son shows that she 
had reached the end or come "at a stand" with the means 
for support. With this terrible condition confronting, 
Mrs. Madison declined to execute any paper which might 
deceive for credit. "I have nothg to convey away nor 
with which to benefit myself." Here is heroism. The 
moralizing by one who has not undergone experience and 
temptation is to "become as sounding brass, or a tinkling 
cymbal." The one who has suffered and resisted can 
rightfully support and strongly support the similar situ- 
ated. Mrs. Madison smiled to her friends and suffered 
to herself and complained to no one save her son on 
whom she had claim. 

Sept 24th 1847.— 

My beloved — I am too sensible to all the troubles you 
encounter but I trust in Our Heavenly Father who has 
in His Mercy supported us to this day — let your faith be 
in Him, with prayers for His continued Goodnefs, to us, 
who are nothing without Him. 

I entrusted the letters and some account of the Astor 
businefs, to Col. Bomford who promised his faithful at- 
tention — but I have rec d only verbal accts from him, thro' 
his wife. — He says he has "made every effort to con- 
verse with him in vain" — that he cannot converse — that 
his watchful friends do all that for him — and that the 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

prospect of gaining on his former feelings seems hopelefs 
— as he can neither listen nor reply. It is thought he will 
live but a short time, as he now lives on the milk of a 
wet nurse. 

— I am afraid the facility of borrowing in the North 
could not be extended to our situation, when the same 
obstructions exist with a multitude of others. I have 
borrowed as you must know to live since and before we 
parted last, but now I am at a stand, until supplies come 
from you — I will as you advise take care of "such men" 
whom I detest too much even to hear their defence. 

I hope Mr Robinson &• yourself will make wise & 
efficeint conclusions in the case of Walker and every 
other in dispute. I take for granted that all will be 
granted with that immovable calmnefs of spirit which 
has been found the wisest. 

I hope to see you in health and good prospects when 
you come to visit me in October — you will let me hear 
from you when you can. 

I send you more papers but object to your returning 
the like. I cannot think of any Deed being necefsary 
for the purpose you mention. I have noths to convey 
away nor with which to benefit myself. My eye rebels. 
Adieu for this time. 

To Mrs. Madison: 

accept the enclosed mitts my beloved friend, as an evi- 
dence that you were not forgotten ; and whilst my fingers 
were employed netting them my heart was clinging still 
closer & closer to yours — They are an imperfect speci- 
men of my work owing to the difficulty of geting ma- 
terials in the country were them for my sake, however; 
and I will try to do better. 

I am very anxious to see you and my dear child Anne 
— and will spend some hours with you when the weather 
is cooler — for this is weather that suits not either you or 
me for exercise — Keep in view therefore till we meet 

Your friend — 

IT T f»p 

October 18th— 1847— 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison to General Winfield S. Scott, recom- 
mending William J. Corcoran : 

I take the liberty dear General Scott to salute you with 
anxious wishes for your safety and happinefs — May the 
reward of glory which has so long distinguished your 
character, await you everywhere. Your family are well 
— precious Cornelia will come to Washington this day 
from a marriage in Alexandria when I shall speak of 
and remember her tender and good father. 
* * * 

Your constant friend 
Washington Ocf 23th 1847 

i t>' 

Will M r s Madison do her young friend, Lilly Page 
the favor to accept this little Christmas offering, — The 
basket was made by the children of an Orphan Asylum 
in Clarke County Virginia 


Dec 25th (1847) 

I am indeed proud of sweet Lilly's remembrance and 
even more so of yours my very dear Mrs. Page I should 
sooner have assured you of this and my thousand thanks 
and good wishes for your and your children's happinefs 
but the cold winds and rains with the misfortunes de- 
prived me of the power and pleasure of hailing you on 
Christmas day. 





RS. PEARSON requests the pleasure of Mrs. 
Madison's company on Thursday evening Jan- 
uary 13th a t i/ 2 8 o'clock. 
Brentwood January 5th (1848) 

In Mrs. Thornton's diary is with the marginal date, 
November 3, 1810: 

D r T visited M r Pearson on his marriage with Miss 

The Brents lived at time of wedding at the southwest 
intersection of Maryland avenue and Twelfth street.* 
Sir Augustus Foster mentions it as one of the three gen- 
tlemen's houses, he recollects. Mr. Brent, was the Mayor. 
Eleanor and Joseph were the bride and groom's given 
names. The groom was a member from North Carolina 
and had the argument with firearms on the field of honor 
with Mrs. Madison's brother-in-law as already related. 
Mr. Pearson had subsequently another bride ; and finally 
a third, a Miss Worthington of Georgetown. Mrs. Pear- 
son, the final, is she who invites Mrs. Madison to Brent- 
wood. Her daughter married Augustus Jay, of the 
rightly-renowned Jay family. He for many years was 
the Secretary of the American legation at France. 

Richmond Enquirer, Tuesday, August 18, 1829: 

Washington, 5th August, 1829. 

The late recess of the Circuit Court, and the several 
recent excursions of the Executive Officers of the gov- 

*Pictured in Robert Brent, First Mayor of Washington City. 
James Dudley Morgan, M.D. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ernment, formed an interval of leisure to those here, 
who, for the last two months, had accustomed themselves 
to watch the proceedings of the one and the engage- 
ments of the other. It afforded me the opportunity of 
visiting some distant scenery of the district, not very 
accessible in winter. Among these, are several beautiful 
improvements above Georgetown, and the interspersion 
of the wood lands, north of the city, by several tasteful 
edifices; among which are the mansions of Col. Bom- 
ford, Meridian Hill, Mr. Pairo's stately dwelling,* the 
abortive college,! and the classic abode of the hon. Jos- 
eph Pierson. 

The first mentioned is the celebrated Kalorama, where 
resided the late Joel Barlow. * * * The mansion 
has long been tenanted by devotees of letters and phy- 
sical science ; and the grounds formed and decorated by 
the taste of Mrs. Barlow and her hospitable and ac- 
complished sister. 

* * * 

Proceeding along the same summit, eastwardly, I 
passed the College, in a decaying state, several rude 
farms, crossed the Tyber, and in the midst of a grove 
of native oaks, arrived at the house of Mr. Pierson. 
It stands on the high grounds east of the Tyber, and 
one mile from the Capitol: and is without a question 
the handsomest private mansion in the district. 

The mansion was the thought of Dr. Thornton. 

Although under the shelter of the 

"Earth's tall sons, the cedar, oak and pine," 
the mansion is decaying. 

*S near Twenty-third street. Still standing. 
tColumbia College — Fourteenth Street extended. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The negro poet, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, of it lines: 

An' de big house stan's all quiet lak an' solemn, 
Not a blessed soul in pa'lor, poch, er lawn; 
Not a guest, ner not a ca'iage lef to hand 'em, 
Tu' de ones, dat tu'ned de latch-string out an' gone. 

The strangeness which is fact surpasses the strangeness 
which is fancy. No novelist has had the ingenuity to 
create in fiction a litigation with the entanglement and 
intricacy to equal that in truth — the Myra Clark Gaines 
litigation. But if a novelist had, it would be criticized 
as too wild for a chance of probability. No encyclopaedic 
narration can be more than an outline. Applcton's En- 
cyclopedia contains a review, clear even if concise. In 
that celebrated case where many moves, moves with results 
retrogressive and progressive in the course towards the 
persistent claimant's ultimate triumph. Myra Clark's 
first husband was M. W. Whitney of New York ; her sec- 
ond, Edmund Pendleton Gaines, Brigadier-General, U. 
S. A. 

Mrs. Gaines will be happy to see Mrs. Madison on 
Tuesday evening next. 

Saturday Feb. 12th (1848) 
Browns Hotel 

Jacob Barker, as said, was a banker. And he was a 
merchant. At port in a day (April 14, 1812), were 
anchored five ships of Mr. Barker's; one of these, white 
and rustling went, proudly out to sea, as Lady Madison. 
The name indexed an admiration by the banker and mer- 
chant. Mr. Barker was a financial agent in the negotia- 
tion of large loans in which he was singularly successful. 
Charles J. Ingersoll, the historian of the second war, 
compares his service in that as important as the service 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of the Financier of the American Revolution, Robert 
Morris, in it. Mr. Barker aspired to control the banks, 
the insurance companies and the manufactories. He was 
on that account indited for conspiracy. He defended 
himself and successfully. Mr. Barker, consequently, con- 
sidered himself adapted for the law. He qualified and 
in New Orleans practiced. Mr. Barker said "thou," 
"thee" and "thy" like a Quaker and Mrs. Barker dressed 
just like a Quakeresss. He had a brother who was 
known as Abraham, the Dutchman. 

The controversy over the rescue of the Washington 
portrait broke out thirty and odd years after the event 
with gathered fierceness. Besides the claimant, M. John 
Sioussat; Dr. Carroll claimed on behalf of his father. 
Dr. Charles J. Carroll was the son of Charles Carroll 
of BelleVue, the brother of Daniel Carroll of Dudding- 
ton. BelleVue was the name of his patrimonial estate 
and he used to identify himself from Charles Carroll 
of Carrollton, a collateral branch. This extract is suffi- 
cient to show the claim of saving the much saved por- 
trait : 

The circumstances, notorious in the district at the 
time, were as follows : On the morning of the 24th, 
at the request of the President, with Mr. Monroe, my 
father accompanied him, and they set out to see Gen- 
eral Winder, and to reconnoitre the enemy, &c; that 
on their way towards Bladensburg, the President's horse 
(or Mr. Monroe's) becoming suddenly lame, he ex- 
changed with my father, who returned to the city, and 
by invitation of Mr. Madison, stopped to dine, en fani- 
ille, with Mrs. Madison, which he did, and they were 
sitting at table alone, after dinner, when the President's 
servant entering, announced the battle and the defeat 
— that Mrs. Madison must immediately make her es- 
cape over to Maj. Carroll's (my father's house in 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Georgetown,) and thence with the family out to his 
farm — that on the instant, ordering Mrs. Madison's 
carriage, and rising from the table, taking down the 
picture, he, with his penknife, cut out or detached (in 
some way separating) from the frame in which it hung, 
the original portrait of Washington, and himself saved 
that portrait. 

Mr. Barker has his account in a letter to Dr. Carroll :* 

As soon as our troops broke and retreated the Presi- 
dent sent his servant to warn his good lady of her 
danger, with directions to leave immediately. This mes- 
senger must have reached the White House by two 
o'clock, and Mrs. Madison, Mr. and Mrs. Cutts and ser- 
vants left immediately thereafter. * * * 

Whether I found your father there or whether he 
came in subsequently, I do not know; but I do know 
that he assisted in taking down the portrait of Wash- 
ington and left the house with the President, leaving 
the portrait on the floor of the room in which it had 
been suspended to take care of itself, where it remained 
until the remnant' of our army, reduced to about four 
thousand, passed by, taking the direction of George- 
town, when the portrait was taken by Mr. Depeyster 
and myself, assisted by two colored boys from the said 
room; and with it we fell into the trail of the army 
and continued with it some miles. 

Overtaken by night and greatly fatigued, we sought 
shelter in a farm house. No other persons assisted in 
removing or preserving the picture. 

Westport Connecticut Feby 3 rd 1848 — 
M" James Madison 
Respected Madam 
In May last I sent you the Herald, containing a Nar- 
rative from Jacob Barker & a Letter from myself; the 
Object being, to show, through whose agency the Por- 

*Social Life in the Early Republic. Anne Hollingsworth 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

trait of Washington was saved at the burning of the 
President's House in August 1814 by the British. To 
you, the Credit was alone given and the Narrative above 
referred to, proves, at your suggestion it was preserved. 
The Herald of Monday Morning 31 s * Ulto contains a 
Letter, under the Signature of Daniel I. Carroll, giving 
the credit to his Father & attempts to disprove the State- 
ment of Mr B & myself. 

I was the companion of Mr B — during this visit to 
the capital on that eventful day, & I cannot permit the 
Credit justly due you to be thus taken away, & awarded 
to another, without an effort to obtain (with a view to 
publication) from you what passed on that occasion. 
I should be gratified by the receipt of a Letter, as early 
as your convenience will permit, confirming the cor- 
rectness of the statement being in the following Words 
M r Barker, I wish, if you save, to destroy the Portrait 
of General Washington, the Eagles, which ornament 
the Drawing Room, & the four cases of papers' which 
you will find in the President's private room. The Por- 
trait I am very anxious to save, as it is the Only Origi- 
nal by Stuart; at all events do not let them fall into 
the hands of the enemy, as their capture would enable 
them to make a great flourish. 

The Picture was saved, & safely restored to the 
President's Mansion. 

I was then young, & remember distinctly the above 
request, and aided to carry out your patriotic instruc- 
tions. My Own Letter, which accompanied the Nar- 
rative, stated my object, I had in view, & I hope under 
your own signature, to prove the truth of our joint 

Very Respectfully, 
Your obedt 

Robt. G. L. De Peyster. 

P. S. The Herald containing 
Mr. Carroll's Letter, I now 
send you. 

R. G. L. D. P. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison made the requested corroboration: 

Washington, February 11th, 1848. 

Dear Sir: I did not receive your favor containing 
the newspapers, and therefore in my impatience to as- 
sure you of my gratitude for the interest you take in 
my defence in the little narrative of the picture rescue. 

You will see by the enclosed what was said at the 
time. The impression that Mr. Carroll saved Stuart's 
portrait of Washington is erroneous. The paper which 
was to accompany your letter has not reached me, but 
I have heard that his family believed he rescued it. 
On the contrary, Mr. Carroll had left me to join Mr. 
Madison, when I directed my servants in what manner 
to remove it from the wall, remaining until it was done. 
I saw Mr. Barker and yourself (the two gentlemen al- 
luded to) passing, and accepted your offer to assist me, 
in any way, by inviting you to help me to preserve this 
portrait, which you kindly carried, between you. to the 
humble but safe roof which sheltered it awhile. I acted 
thus because of my respect for General Washington — 
not that I felt a desire to gain laurels ; but, should there 
be a merit in remaining an hour in danger of life and 
liberty to save the likeness of anything, the merit in 
this case belongs to me. 

Accept my respect and best wishes. 

D. P. Madison. 
To Robert G. L. Depeyster, 
Westport, Connecticut. 

The letter of Mrs. Madison to her son, February 19th, 
1848, announces the death of her sister, Mrs. Todd. Mrs. 
Madison, the eldest daughter, survived all the others. 

I now write to you my beloved not that I have any 
thing very cheering to say, but that I wish to afsure 
you of my constant thoughts, & prayers. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

You have seen no doubt, that my ever dear sister 
departed this life some days ago — Wm wrote me that 
it was by apoplexy. 

The writings of my Husband will be purchased by 
Congrefs but no one can say at what time, as the Mem- 
bers are more interested in the acquirement of Oregon, 
& other speculations. I have some attentive friends on 
the Committee who wish to be benefit me, as most of 
the Hono ble body of Congrefs — by naming 25000$ — 
the interest of which will to be place at my command 
during life & devised as I like — They suject that it 
will be more to my interest that no interference from 
any other source shall be seen. 

I lay this before you that you may decide with me 
that our course is acquiesce when nothing better is to 
be done. 

Westport February 25th 1848 

M r s D. P. Madison 
Respected Madam 

Your Letter with statement, I received in due course 
of mail. I return you my thanks, for the prompt re- 
ply to my wishes, requesting your confirmation of the 
Picture rescue, and the Object I had in view, is now 
accomplished to place before the country, your sole 
agency in this affair, and without your suggestion, this 
Valuable Portrait of Washington would have shared 
the fate of every thing else, after you left White House. 
I requested the Editors of the Express to send a copy, 
& in fears they have not, I enclose one to you. Wishing 
you many years of health & happiness, 

Very Respectfully 

Your obedt 

Robt. G. L. De Peyster. 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

To Mrs. Madison by her niece, Rose Adele Cutts : 

Academy of the Visitation 
Georgetown, D. C. Feb. 28th 1848. 
My own dear Aunt, 

I cannot allow another week to pass by, without writ- 
ing to you, but I warn you before hand, that you will 
not find my letter interesting, as we school girls never 
hear any news, and things go on in the same quiet man- 
ner every day. — I know you were very sorry to hear 
of old M r Adams' death : it was quite sudden, and I 
suppose it will cast quite a gloom over the city. — Mama 
came to see me last week, and I need not tell you how 
glad I was to see her: give my best love to coz. and tell 
her that I think she is a very naughty young lady, not 
to answer my letter: and I will not write to her again 
until she does answer it. I hope to see you on Sat- 
urday after next, when I shall visit home, but I will 
only stay until Sunday evening. At Easter we shall 
have a week's holy-day, during which time, I expect to 
enjoy myself very much. We are going to have some 
plays on Shove Tuesday and I am very glad for I love 
to look at them. We shall see "the Stranger" & "the 
Omnibus" which are both very pretty. Do you re- 
member Miss Sarah Linton who became a nun? She 
with 9 other Sisters from our house have gone to Phila- 
delphia there to found a monastery of their order. I 
fear before now you have grown tired of my uninter- 
esting letter, so I will close with much love to all, but 
particularly to my dear Mama, Papa & Maddy: Do 
not forget to answer my letter as soon as you have time. 
Adieu, my dear Aunt, 

I remain your affectionate niece 

Addy Cutts. — 

Marian Gouveneur says :* 

I knew Madison Cutts' daughter, Rose Adele Cutts, 
or "Addie" Cutts, as she was invariably called, when 

*As I Remember; Recollections of American Society During the 
Nineteenth Century. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

she first entered society. Her reputation for beauty is 
well known. I always associate her with japonicas, 
which she usually wore in her hair and of which her 
numerous bouquets were chiefly composed. Her father 
frequently accompanied her to balls, and in the wee 
small hours of the night, as he became weary, I have 
often been amused at his summons to depart — "Addie, 
allons." As quite a young woman Addie Cutts married 
Stephen A. Douglas, the "Little Giant," whom Lincoln 
defeated in the memorable presidential election of 1860. 
* * * Some years after Douglas' death, his widow 
married General Robert Williams, U. S. A. by whom 
she had a number of children, one of whom is the wife 
of Lieut. Commander John B. Patton, U. S. N. 

William Wilson Corcoran, the philanthropist. The 
phrase of distinction, if not always mentioned, is always 
thought and goes with his name as title go with the truly 
entitled. Mr. Corcoran was born in Georgetown and 
was the son of an Irish emigrant. He was a banker; 
he negotiated loans for the general government; he was 
surpassing successful. His fortune was large, very large ; 
yet not to compare with the Croesus amassments of the 
succeeding generation. Of the surplus, he made sensible 
and substantial donations. His charities and endowments 
were and are of real benefit. He gave to art, to charity, 
to church and to praiseworthy projects to particularize 
would take pages ; however, to omit the two to be referred 
to would be an oversight even in the slightest sketch. 

The Corcoran Galley of Art he richly endowed. Its 
continuous collecting of examples of brush and chisel 
has been discriminate and in the entirety is an artistic 
pride of the country. 

Mr. Corcoran married, 1835, Louise Armory, the 
daughter of Commodore Charles Morris. She died No- 
vember 21, 1840. Her daughter, Louise Morris, was 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

born March 20, 1838. She married George Eustis, a 
Member of Congress of Louisiana. She died, Decem- 
ber 4, 1867, at Cannes, France, by three children sur- 
vived. She was amiable and admirable. And yet to 
this day there is sadness in her going and the thought 
comes the good go on too soon before. 

In the papers prized by Mrs. Madison is a visiting card. 
On it is engraved the name and under the name is the 
invitation pencilled: (1848) 

Wm W. Corcoran 
At home Monday Feb. 28th a t S]/ 2 o'clock. 

Mr. Corcoran was a creditor of Mrs. Madison. He 
accommodated her with loans. The financial strength 
was weak; the moral risk was strong — that is how Mr. 
Corcoran, the banker, estimated her credit. She paid the 
loans in full. His relation with Mrs. Madison from the 
financial, followed to the friendly, and he had the friendly 
footing to talk freely. 

Mr. Corcoran: Mrs. Madison, may I ask, how old 
are you? 

Mrs. Madison : I am seventy-two, Mr. Corcoran. 

The next year — 

Mr. C. : Mrs. Madison, how old are you? 

Mrs. M. : I am seventy-two, Mr. Corcoran. 

And, the next year after that year — 

Mr. C. : Mrs. Madison, how old are you? 

Mrs. M. : I am seventy-two, Mr. Corcoran. 

Mr. Corcoran endowed a home for gentlewomen. This 
unique philanthropy, he named in honor of his wife and 
his daughter — The Louise Home. It is an entire front 
of a city square — Massachusetts avenue between Fifteenth 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

and Sixteenth streets. The selection of site indicates the 
same foresight that Mr. Corcoran exercised in his finan- 
cial affairs. It is the choicest spot in the most beautiful 
city of the nation. The home, that is, the building, is 
within a park of its own — vines, shrubbery, trees and 
walks. Over the iron railing in front swings gracefully a 
wistaria; beside the main entrance on either side stands 
sentinel, a magnolia tree. In the spring-time, the purple 
pendents of the wistaria and the flood of bloom of the 
magnolia are significant of renewal of youth like the 
eagles. In the evenings, the cultured guests of the home 
are seen on the porticoes and the walks. They are pre- 
sumably in the evening of life but their chatter and cheer 
indicate a mistaken presumption and that these ladies 
so young in heart have renewal of youth as often as the 
fresh and fragrant wistaria and magnolias. 

To Mifs Louise Corcoran 

March 2 Is; 48. 

Accept my best thanks precious Louise for your beau- 
tiful present — a cake covered with kifses — what a grati- 
fying gift to the friend who loves you. I am disposed 
to preserve it & shew it to you on your next natal day, 
as an afsurance of the affection I bear you & the respect 
I cherish for the estimable qualities you aVeadv mani- 
fest, at the early period of ten years- - 
Fond Salivations 

D. P. M. 

Dear Mr s Madison 

Accept my warmest thanks for your kind attention 
to my request for the loan of your portrait for copy — 
upon consulting my friend M r Bisbee the artist, for 
whom I borrowed it, we have come to the conclusion 
that it will be more gratifying to ourselves & your 
numerous friends to have a portrait taken from life of 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

one so loved & so highly respected as yourself — it 
would appear more natural to us to see you as you now 
are than as you appeared some years ago and knowing 
with what kindnefs & condescension you are always 
ready to extend to your friends, if in your power, has 
induced me to make the attempt. We tender you & 
yours our best wishes. 

My love attends you 

Elizabeth C. Dietz 

To Mrs. D. Madison March 22d 1848 

Delicately humorous is Mrs. Madison's allusion to the 
stamp of age; yet upon her visage nature had leniently 
done the stamping. It was the stamp "Of virtue, truth 
well tried, and wise experience." Women-kind are 
sensitive of their accumulated years — and so the men; 
but of the women-kind, Mrs. Madison was more than 
ordinarily so. And at four score years, Mrs. Madison 
might hesitate to subject herself to the weariness incident 
to the infirmity of advanced age. 

To Mrs. Elizabeth C. Dietz 

March '48. 
I am very sorry to have given my kind Mrs. Dietz 
& our good artist so much trouble in the translation 
of a wayward face — such mine must have been to have 
changed so much & unnecefsarily for our accommo- 
dation — what say you to the likenefs by Wood which 
I send for choice, being too indisposed to sit at present. 

D. P. M. 

Mrs. Dietz, February 2, 1848, wrote Mr. Elwell wants 
to commence her picture tomorrow. And, May 15, 1848, 
from Springfield, Mass., came: 

I am also happy to inform you the picture of Mrs. 
Madison is most happily received. 

W. S. Elwell. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The American Hemans. Lydia Howard Huntley 
Sigourney was born Huntley. She began her "earthly 
pilgrimage" in Norwich, Connecticut, September 1, 1791. 
She says "no earthly pilgrimage, if faithfully portrayed 
in its true lights and shadows, but might impart some in- 
struction to a future traveller" and with this modest in- 
centive she has given her's in Letters of Life. 

She had a constant and confidential friend, her jour- 
nal, from her eleventh year to her ending year ; she died 
June 10, 1865. To the reminding of this friend, when 
there might be a slip of forgetfulness, is the pilgrimage 
on paper correct and complete. 

The influence of family and environment were severely 
religious, and her own inclinations were in accord. Her 
life was decorous and devout. Her poetry is praise and 
prayer; her prose pleading for piety. 

Her father was a widower when he met the beautiful 
girl who was to be her mother or to use Mrs. Sigourney's 
way of saying it, "garnered up his heart in a new trust" 
after he had "passed several years of lonely mourning." 
Mrs. Sigourney was an only child. 

She, herself, was partial to a ready-made family for 
the widower she chose in her twenty-eighth year for a 
life companion had three children. In the meantime, she 
had been a school-dame, very conscientious, very indus- 
trious, very successful, very much loving and very much 

Charles Sigourney, was considerably older than the 
school mistress for whose heart his own was affected and 
his age was agreeable to her perchant for the friendship 
of men older than herself. He built a mansion on a 
height with extensive grounds in the suburbs of Hart- 
ford on the borders of the Connecticut. Down by the 
river was a tryst for those who required more wooing 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

than a single letter and several glances — for that was all 
between the merchant and school mistress, indeed, she 
did not countenance flirtation neither loiter in the pur- 
lieus of matrimony. 

The authoress's writings in poetry and prose are pro- 
digious; they make a little library. Their production is 
through a period of half a century (1815-1865). She 
says: "There was a long period after I became a writer 
for the public, when periodical literature flourished 
abundantly. * * * On this sea of miscellany I was 
allured to embark, and having set sail, there was no re- 
turn. I think now with amazement, and almost incre- 
dulity, of the number of articles I was induced by the 
urgency of editors to furnish. Before I ceased to keep 
a regular catalogue, they had amounted to more than 
two thousand. Some of these were afterwards compre- 
hended in selections, though enough for several volumes 
must still be floating about, like sea-weed among the 
noteless billows. They were divided among three hun- 
dred different publications." 

The authoress visited England, Scotland and France, 
1840. She was presented to royalty and received by the 
high in the republic of letters. The reference in Mrs. 
Madison's letter to the Queen of France is to Marie 
Amelie, the consort of Louis Philippe, who was deposed 
February, 1848. In 1825, a few months in advance of 
Lafayette, she and Mr. Sigourney visited Mr. Jefferson 
at Monticello and Mr. and Mrs. Madison at Montpellier. 
Her visit to Montpellier she commemorated in verse. She 
visited Mrs. Madison in Washington and in Anne Royall's 
The Huntress, February, 1847, is "Washington City was 
honored with the presence of three of America's most 
talented authoresses — Mrs. L. H. Sigourney, Mrs. A. L.. 
Phelps and Mrs. Ann S. Stephens." 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Washington, April 4th, 1848 

To M rs Sigourney, 


How shall I plead my apology to thee my very dear 
Friend for such a seeming of neglect to answer thy 
beautiful and highly prized letters — my Valentine too — 
a rare favor for me to receive and fascinating as rare! 
The girls of every age have been candidates for it, but I 
am too proud of the distinction to allow them more than 
a copy. 

To give you a brief account of myself and those around 
me since we parted I at once manifest my misfortune in 
my cause of silence — inflamed eyes, forbidding the use 
of pen and white paper — They are slowly mending and 
I hasten to beg the place I prize so highly in your esti- 
mation — and to be still remembered by you and your 

I have thought of you and how much and how sadly 
your feelings would be disturbed at the Revolution so 
lately begun and apparently ended — Still that estimable, 
amiable, Queen, who was your friend, will be forever 
anxious for her Husband, her children and for France 
— and I am sure will have a deep sympathy in your re- 
membrance of her. 

I embrace you dear Friend with lively affection — 
and as usual promise when my eye is well to be a better 

D. P. Madison. 

To Mrs. Duncan: 

I have just time my dear M rs Duncan (whilst your 
servant waits) to salute you with my best thanks for 
your nice old Ham — and to charge you with the same 
regard for our kind M r Duncan — whose flattering con- 
sideration for the health of a stranger will be grateful 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

to one who sets a value on the notice of a gentleman so 
estimable as himself. 

Adieu — All pleasantnefs attend you on your journey. 

D. P. Madison 

Apl 6th 1848. 

Garnett Duncan for Mrs. Duncan sends some snipe, 
December 9, 1848. Mr. Duncan was a Kentuckian and 
represented Kentucky in the House, December 6, 1847, 
to March 3, 1849. Mr. Duncan admired Mrs. Madison; 
and practically proved his admiration — by kindness and 

Born, nurtured, wedded, prized, within the pale 
Of peers and princes, high in camp — at Court — 
He hears in joyous youth, a wild report, 

Swelling the murmurs of the Western gale, 

Of a young people struggling to be free ! 

Straight quitting all, across the wave he flies, 

Aids with his sword, wealth, blood, the high emprize! 

And shares the glories of its victory. 

Then comes for fifty years, a high romance 

Of toils, reverses, sufferings, in the cause 
Of man and justice, liberty and France, 

Crowned, at the last, with hope and wide applause, 
Champion of Freedom! Well thy race was run! 

All time shall hail thee, Europe's noblest Son! 

D. P. Madison 

Washington April 25th 1848. 

The poetical tribute to Lafayette, Mrs. Madison had 
copied, and she signed it, in the album of Mrs. James J. 
Roosevelt. It is a truthful voice of her estimation. 

To Mrs. Elizabeth Hamilton (Mrs. Alexander Ham- 
ilton) : 

Apl 25th 48 
My dear M™ Hamilton 

I am delighted with the specimen of your work, with 
which you have favored me this morning. It is beau- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

tiful. & precious, coming from your hands — I shall 
always preserve it for your sake — and beg you now to 
accept my affte salutations for yourself & M rs Holly.* 

The note to her son is in her handwriting and very 

My dear son I enclose you $50 — it may be of some 
acct in fixing clothes &c Nothing has yet been done 
in congrefs — When is I'll let you know immediately. 
As soon as you receive this let me know that it is safe 
with you. 

My eyes are not wel 1 . 
May 9th 48 

To Mrs. J. Madison Cutts: 


I was so engaged all yesterday, my sweet, that I could 
not take the pen to tell you that all you did for Mary 
was in the best style of kindness and propriety. 

Be pleased to send Ralph for the -proper gloves and 

Yours ever, 

D. P. Madison.f 

The scene has the action of melodrama. An incendiary 
fires the house; a neighbor discovers the fire; he warns 
the servants. The faithful servant, Ralph, through the 
obscurity of smoke swiftly speeds upstairs and arouses 
the sleeping Mistress and the Mistress's daughter. She 
and her daughter are saved. She thinks the second 
second after her rescue of the safety of the trunk and its 
thirty thousand dollars of treasure. The faithful Ralph 
bounds upward and downward again while the fires 
crackle. The valuable manuscripts are rescued that are 

♦Mrs. Hamilton Holly, Mrs. Hamilton's daughter. 
fDolly Madison. J. Madison Cutts. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

to rescue her from indigence and calm her fretting credi- 
tors. These scenes of rescue in the first act are hardly 
acted before the neighbors arrive and with buckets drown 
the flames that are destroying the Dolly Madison house. 
A biographer has told with more thrill the exciting epi- 
sode having more circumstances than Mrs. Madison gave 
her son. 

Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison: 

About this time she had a most providential escape 
from a fire started by incendiaries, who placed matches 
between the shutters of the hall window and the stair- 
case of her house. As the flames began to ascend 
towards her room in the early morning, a neighbor 
aroused the servants, and the man, Ralph, rushing 
towards his mistress' room, broke down the door and 
found her quietly sleeping in the midst of dense clouds 
of smoke. "Mistress," he cried, "I have come to save 
you," and awakening to the consciousness of danger to 
her husband's letters and papers, as more important than 
her own life, she refused to leave until the frightened 
servants secured them; then Ralph seized her in his 
arms, rushed down the burning staircase, out of a side 
door, and placed her in safety in a remote corner of 
the garden. The fire was soon extinguished by kind 
neighbors, and Mrs. Madison laughingly returned, clad 
in a black velvet gown and night-cap, and with bare feet. 

To John Payne Todd : 

You have seen by the Gazettes, my dear son, that 
we had an alarm of fire in our house on last Saturday 
week — at 4 o'clock in the morns our chamber door was 
afsailed by Ralph who begged Annie & myself to come 
down immediately, whilst the stairs remained — we did 
so, thro' a crackling fire — losing not a moment we 
reached the garden ground — he returned and brought 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

me down the trunk of papers — when our neighbors (just 
awakened) came to our afsistance, and soon separated 
the fire from the window frame in which it had made 
great progrefs. It has been supposed to be the work 
of an incendiary and the watch is nightly around the 
City. — Yesterday Congrefs pafsed the Bill for the pur- 
chase of M r Madison's papers — I will enclose you the 
newspapers — and beg you will tell me whether you have 
rec d my letter enclosing a $50 note — also to say when 
you think you can come to me, and whether you have 
any papers to send me which you think would be better 
added to those I have. — You promised me to be ready 
with Harper directions — they are now wanting, as well 
as all other advice you can give or bring me. 
Your affectionate 

Sunday May 21st 48. 

For the purchase of the letters of Mr. Madison, Con- 
gress, May 31, 1848, appropriated in favor of Mrs. Mad- 
ison, twenty-five thousand dollars. Twenty thousand 
of which was vested in James Buchanan, Secretary of 
State, John Y. Mason, Secretary of the Navy, and Rich- 
ard Smith, Esq., to invest in stocks for her benefit. The 
trust fund she could dispose of by last will and testa- 
ment.* The Senate bill, in the House, had determined 
opposition by the economists, the mention of whose 
names now recalls nobody, save Andrew Johnson; it 
had, to pass it on her birthday, the eloquent appeal of 
Alexander H. Stephens. 

The purchase had been under Congressional consider- 
ation several years. Her friend, Dromgoole, December 
17, 1844, produced Mrs. Madison's letter offering the 
remainder of the Madison manuscripts and then offered 

*Statutes at Large. IX, 235. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

a resolution, which was adopted, authorizing purchase 
and printing. These letters are in the manuscript di- 
vision of the Library of Congress. The purchase of 
the letters at the time may have been made to assist 
Mrs. Madison. However more than equivalent for the 
consideration was given. The letters are of incalculable 
historic worth and now in the autographic market more 
than equal in a financial exchange. 

J. Madison Cutts, a grandnephew, writes: 

But I remember her best in the last years of her life, 
when I often looked into her face and with a child's 
instinct knew she was in distress, and my father told 
me she was poor, and often being the bearer from him 
of small sums of money, I knew that she was in need 
and want, and well do I remember running from the 
Senate chamber as an avant-courier of my father the 
moment the Senate by its vote passed the bill making 
an appropriation of $25,000 to purchase the remaining 
letters and papers of Mr. Madison. Thus did Congress 
and a grateful country relieve her last distresses, and I 
arrived out of breath the first to bring her the glad 
tidings which made us all happy for her dear sake. 

To Mrs. Morris, wife of Commodore Morris, I and 
Fifteenth streets, N.W., on receiving a birthday gift: 

My very dear Mrs. Morris 

The gift from your hands is more precious than I 
can exprefs — bearing, in your good wishes for me heal- 
ing on its wings — for these, as well as the beautiful 
shawl, I thank you. And I must say that the coun- 
tenance of your Husband, beaming with health & kind- 
nefs, was delightful to me, on Annie's lively eves. 
Constant affection 

D. P. M. 
May 22d 48 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Harriet Bowen Coolidge in her ninety-sixth year at 
her residence, 1515 L, passed on, November 10, 1911. 
She was the widow of Dr. Richard H. Coolidge, U. 
S. A., and daughter of Commodore Charles Morris, of 
fame on the fighting ship, Constitution. With Mrs. 
Madison she exchanged visits. 

Jones' Hotel, Philad 

May 23. 

Will you allow me dear Mrs. Madison to be among 
the many friends to congratulate you upon the pleasing 
news from Congrefs which came to you upon your 
birth-day ? 

I am sure you will, and I kifs you in thought, and 
dear Annie too, and afsure her that no lover ever treas- 
ured a note more than I have the last one she wrote me. 

The bride & groom (Mr. & Mrs. Baker — Mary 
Lane) are here and she is looking very lovely. I was 
at her wedding and I think she is one of the few who 
can bear a bridal attire at 8 o'clock in the morning, 
& be pronounced lovely — as she was. 

Mr. Plitt begs to join me in warm wishes for your 
continued health. 

Very truly, dear Mrs. Madison, your sincere friend, 

Sophie Wager Plitt. 

Dear Mrs. Madison, 

I cannot refrain from offering you my respectful 
sympathy and congratulations, on the interesting cir- 
cumstances of which our friends and the papers have 
apprised us : the return of an anniversary always so 
memorable to you, and the gratifying decisions, and evi- 
dence of public sympathy, which commemorated it. 
May you for many years enjoy the return of that day 
in uninterrupted health and happiness. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

With the kindest remembrance to Miss Paine, I re- 
main always, dear Madam, 

With much respect and affection, 
Hartford, Anna Coolidge. 

27th May. 

Anna Coolidge was the youngest sister of Joseph 
Coolidge, Jr., who married Eleanora Wayles Randolph, 
granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson. With the wed- 
ding present of a writing desk went a note by him in 
the third person: * * * "and is the identical one 
on which he wrote the Declaration of Independence." 
Miss Coolidge married Colonel William Edgar Prince 
of New York. 

Westport May 29th 1848 
Mrs. D. P. Madison 
Respected Madam 

Dr. Carroll has thought proper to publish another 
Letter, on the subject of the Picture rescue, still im- 
puting to his Father, the suggestion, that led to its pres- 
ervation, and attempting to fix the credit upon his 
Father. I sent Mr. Barker, now residing in New Or- 
leans, the reply of Dr. Carroll and the former has this 
day, sent me the Daily Crescent published in that City, 
containing Mr. Barker's rejoinder. As it vindicates 
your statement which I can attest having been present 
at the time, and believing it will prove interesting to 
you, I enclose it. I hope, facts & proofs, so firmly 
established, will put at last, any further attempt of the 
Dr to deprive you of the credit, so justly due you of 
saving the picture of Washington. 

Robt G. L. De Peyster 

New Orleans, May 5, 1848. 
^ James Gordon Bennett, Esq. — Dear Sir : Doctor 
Carroll has appeared again in the columns of your paper. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

It is strange that he does not understand human nature 
better than to indulge in coarse epithets and vulgar 
phrase. This is an age of reason and dignity of thought, 
and he who expects to make a favorable impression on 
the public mind by such scurrility as the Doctor has in- 
dulged in, will find himself mistaken. 

I should have deemed the author of such epistles 
unworthy of notice, had they not found a place in a 
respectable newspaper. Your having thought proper to 
give publicity to this man's abuse of me, it would have 
been kind in you to have published, in your invaluable 
paper, Mrs. Madison's statement, and my reply to his 
first effusion, which effusion appeared in The Herald of 
the 31st January last. In days past, you seemed to 
delight in vindicating your old friend, and did it with 
great ability and success, insomuch that you corrected 
and controlled the public opinion of the nation. 
* * * 

My statement was written on the 8th of February, 
and published in the New Orleans Delta of the 11th 
February, and Mr. Depuyster's letter was written in 
Connecticut on the 15th February, consequently before 
he had seen my statement; and nothing could be more 
natural than the conclusion he drew from that of Mrs. 
Madison's, viz: that Mr. Charles Carroll had no agency 
whatever in this matter; and as to Mr. Carroll's cutting 
the canvass from the frame with a penknife, as the 
Doctor alleges, no such thing happened. — The canvass 
was extended on a light wooden frame, placed in the 
usual way within a gilt frame, and the latter was se- 
cured to the wall, which latter was broken down, and 
the light frame with the canvass taken out perfect, and 
continued so until it was returned to the White House. 
Whether the large gilt frame was broken down from 
the wall with a penknife, or with an axe, is not of the 
least consequence. 

It will have been perceived that, so far as I was con- 
cerned, no attempt has been made or sanctioned by me 
to claim the honor of having originated the thought, 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

or of having removed the portrait from the wall to the 
floor. My statement is not only supported by the tes- 
timony of Mrs. Madison and Mr. Depuyster, but re- 
mains uncontradicted, which was, that at the bidding of 
Mrs. Madison, the portrait zvas removed from the floor 
of the room, in which it had been hanging, by Mr. De- 
puyster and myself, aided by tzuo colored boys, and 
taken by us to the woods, and subsequently returned 
by me. Where, then, is the falsification of history al- 
leged by this notable Doctor. 

* * * 

Jacob Barker. 

The life limits of Jacob Barker are December 7, 1779, 
and December 27, 1871. He was born in Kennebec 
County, Maine; and he died in Philadelphia. He lived 
"on twenty-fours a day," — did this sturdy specimen of 
manhood. At twenty-one he owned four ships and a 
brig and in the war of 1812, the British had them all. 
On the financial waves he went high up and low down 
and in consequence of the Civil War, in his eighty- 
eighth year, it was his final time in bankruptcy. The 
strong features of Mr. Barker are portrayed in Harper's 
Cyclopedia of United States History. 

June 29, 1848. 

My dear Son — I sent on your trunk the morns after 
you left, which I trust was safely rec d by you as such 
was the promise of the Captain. — At this moment I am 
much distrefsed at the conversations you held, and the 
determinations you exprefsed, on the subject of bring- 
ing suit against my Trustees and request the favor of 
you to make them easy and content, with you by the 
afsurance that you abandon the idea, or that you never 
had any such intention. I say all this for you because 
I do not believe even yourself if you declared such an 
intention, which would at once ruin your fair fame — 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

your mother would have no wish to live after her son 
issued such threats which would deprive her of her 
friends, who had no other view in taking the charge 
but pure friendship. — This I do wish you to put at rest 
on the receipt of this, without losing a moment. — Half 
as much as I have written will be sufficient. 

M r Smith was Trustee and executor to my sister's 
Will, and he is now very infirm, scarcely able to live 
from day to day, but it is a deep trouble to him to 
believe that he is to be harrafsed with a suit which from 
every point of view would be unavailable in any one. 

Your affte Mother 

From the letter of May 9 to her son, it appears that 
previous to the appropriation act and with no certainty 
of its immediate passage, as from year to year had been 
postponement, Mrs. Madison although in dire distress 
herself, in some way contrived to secure fifty dollars 
which she forwarded to him to "be of some ace* in fixing 
clothes etc." It appears from her letter to him on the 
21st of that same month that he made no acknowledg- 
ment of its receipt. From the immediately preceding 
letter it appears that he had made threats of attacking 
the trusteeship and thereby harassing her. 

The failure to express appreciation or to make any 
expression at all concerning his mother's sacrifice; the 
threats to create trouble about the funds in trust, to 
which, or any part of which, he had no right and could 
not avail in any attack, show on his part ingratitude and 
maliciousness. These traits had developed and now con- 
trolled him likely through dissipation and disappoint- 

The undutiful and unnatural treatment, by son to 
mother, rendering for good, evil, gives chance for a 
dissertation on Ingratitude for here is ingratitude in 
most detestable circumstances. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

A poet lines 

He that's ungrateful has no guilt but one; 
All other crimes may pass for virtues in him. 

— Young : Busiris. 

Another poet, who charges that "Ingratitude more 
in man" is hateful "than lying, vainness, babbling, drunk- 
enness, or any taint of vice," lines : 

That she may feel 
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is 
To have a thankless child. 

— Shakespeare 

John Marshall was the first president of the Wash- 
ington National Monument Society (1833) and James 
Madison the second (1835). 

On the request of the Society, Mrs. James Madison, 
Mrs. John Quincy Adams and Mrs. Alexander Hamilton 
effected an organization of women to assist in accumu- 
lating funds. By letters, fairs and functions peculiarly 
feminine, in various parts of the country, a moderate ad- 
dition to the funds was the result. 

To these three distinguished women invitations to be 
present at the laying of the corner stone, July 4, 1848, 
were addressed. Mrs. Madison came, as did Mrs. Ham- 
ilton of age ninety-one. Mrs. Madison ignored the dis- 
couragement of weather — however "the day was fine. 
The rain had laid the dust and infused a delicious fresh- 
ness in the air" — she came under the escort of General 
Walter Jones. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Washington National Monument Office, 

June 21, 1848. 
Mrs. James Madison: 

The committee of arrangements most respectfully in- 
vite you to attend the ceremony of laying the corner 
stone of the Washington National Monument on the 4th 
day of July next. 

In accepting the presidency of the Society, Mr. Mad- 
ison said : "A monument worthy of Washington, 
reared by the means proposed, will commemorate at the 
same time a virtue, a patriotism, and a gratitude truly 
national, with which the friends of liberty everywhere 
will sympathize and of which our country may always 
be proud." 

While your illustrious husband did not survive to see 
the corner stone of the Monument laid, the committee, 
in common with your fellow-citizens, rejoice that you 
are in the midst of us, and that on them devolves the 
pleasing duty of assuring you that your presence on 
the occasion will greatly gratify the immense audience 
that will be assembled. 

Most respectfully yours, 

Arch. Henderson, 

Chairman of Committee. 

To the Committee of Arrangements of the Wash- 
ington National Monument. 

Gentlemen: In accepting, with great sensibility, your 
flattering invitation to be present with you at the im- 
posing scene of laying the corner stone of the Wash- 
ington National Monument I feel the highest gratifi- 
cation; and believing that I can in no manner so well 
express my heartfelt concurrence in my husband's 
opinion, I will repeat, as you have done, his venerated 
words: "A monument worthy the memory of Wash- 
ington, reared by the means proposed, will commemorate 
at the same time a virtue, a patriotism, and a gratitude 
truly national, with which the friends of liberty every- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

where will sympathize and of which our country may 
always be proud." 

Be pleased to accept, gentlemen, the assurances of my 
great respect. 

D. P. Madison. 
Washington, June 22, 1848. 

It is pertinent in a life of Mrs. Madison to incorporate 
the responsive letters of Mrs. Hamilton and Mrs. 
Adams. The three women called to exalted station by 
marital choice shone lustrously. In their day and gener- 
ation none excelled; and in any other, none. On the 
same theme, their style of expressing themselves makes 
an interest in comparison — not critical comparison. 

Washington City, June 22. 1848. 

To Gen. A. Henderson, 

Chairman of Committee of Arrangements. 

Sir: I had the honor to receive the invitation of the 
Washington Monument Association to attend the cere- 
mony of laying the corner stone of a National Monu- 
ment on the 4th of July next at the monument I was 
about to leave this city, where I have been for a very 
long time engaged in an application to Congress, which, 
in the probable course of human events, will be the last, 
as it is the most interesting, business of my protracted 

The ceremony in which I am invited to participate 
calls back recollections so deeply interesting to me, from 
my early and intimate association with the illustrious 
man to whom this tribute of a nation's gratitude is so 
justly due, that I can not deny myself the great gratifi- 
cation of witnessing it. 

Have the goodness to make my respects to the com- 
mittee and to receive my thanks for the flattering terms 
in which you have communicated their invitation. 
With great respect yours, 

Elizabeth Hamilton. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Washington National Monument Office, 

June 21, 1848. 
Mrs. John Quincy Adams : 

* * * 

It is within your knowledge that the Board of Man- 
agers first invited your distinguished husband to deliver 
an address on the ceremony of laying the corner stone 
of the Monument. He had spoken of the lives and 
characters of Monroe, Lafayette, and Madison, in com- 
pliance with the wishes of his fellow-citizens, and the 
people without distinction of party, without sectional or 
geographical divisions, desired he should deliver the ad- 
dress on the occasion mentioned. The subject was held 
under consideration by him for a month, and when he 
finally declined, it was solely from a prophetic convic- 
tion that he might not have the mental or physical ability 
to perform the service on the 22d of February, the day 
then designated.* 

* * * 

Most respectfully yours, 

Arch. Henderson, 

Chairman of Committee. 

Quincy, June 26, 1848. 
Gen. Arch. Henderson, 

Chairman of Committee of Arrangements of Wash- 
ington National Monument: 

I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of the 
polite invitation of the committee of arrangements of 
the Washington National Monument, to witness the lay- 
ing of the corner stone of the monument consecrated to 
the memory of the Father of his Country, immortalized 
by the crowning fame of military achievement, blended 
with the wisdom of the statesman and possessed of all 
the solid virtues of a pure and honest man 

In the choice of the orator whom you had selected 
for this great occasion, allow me to express my grief 

■"John Quincy Adams died February 23, 1848. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

for a loss which we all deplore. Through a long and 
meritorious life, he had loved and venerated the Gen- 
eral, and fondly gloried in the living worth of the man 
through his arduous trials and splendid career ; and who 
having the felicity of his personal acquaintance, had 
enjoyed his favor and protection, which led to all the 
honors, through his discernment of youthful talent, 
which the nation has so justly distinguished and appre- 
ciated — and who would, had it pleased God to spare 
him yet a little longer, have clone ample justice to a 
theme in which both heart and mind would have reveled 
with delight. 

The infirmities of health, and the great debility under 
which I labor, must plead my excuse for declining the 
flattering invitation which you have done me the honor 
to send me, not being able to undertake so long a jour- 
ney in the heat of summer. Permit me, dear General, 
to assure you, and the committee of arrangements, of 
the high sense of esteem and consideration of 
Your obedient servant, 

Louisa Catherine Adams. 

June 29 (1848) 
My dear Mifs Annie 

I thank your good aunt, for the permifsion to read 
the papers in relation to attendance at the laying the 
corner stone of the Washington monument — if she 
could attend, I feel sure that every possible attention 
would be paid to her comfort ; but it will no doubt be a 
very dusty, hot & disagreeable occasion, & I should fear 
she might be injured. 

* * * 

I thank you, & also Mrs. Madison, for your account 
about what Mr P Todd said — most probably, he will 
not move in the matter. 

I feel much better today & hope "Richard will soon 
be himself again." 

Very trulv your friend 

Rd Smith 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The paragraph in which Mr. Smith thanks for the "ac- 
count about what Mr. P Todd said" refers to the threat 
to oppose the trusteeship of the fund appropriated by- 

Rd Smith Esqr 

I know that my ever considerate Friend will forgive 
my difference of opinion with him on the subject of the 
appeal to our acquaintance, as it falls on my fancy like 
the solicitation of one who had nothing to offer but her 
claim to sympathy whereas I would recede from such a 
conclusion and substitute a plain expedient such as the 

Be pleased to select from the list I send, the gentle- 
men you think most advisable to be added to the three 
I have named, and then tell me how to consult them. — 
or if you will kindly undertake the task. 


July 10th 48. 

This is Mrs. Madison's list: 

Rd Smith 

Dr. J. M. Thomas 

Mr. W. T. Carroll 

Hon. J. Y. Mason 

Hon. E. A. Hannegan of Ind. 

Hon. Garrett Duncan of Ky. 

Hon. A. H. Stevens of Geo. 

Hon. J. H. Clarke of R. I. 

Hon. S. D. Hubbard of Ct. 

Hon. T. H. Bavly of Va. 

Hon. J. M. Dowell of Va. 

Hon. J. A. Rockwell of Conn. 
Gen. Walter Jones 
Maj. Gen. Scott 
Com. Morris 
Com. Warrington 
J. B. H. Smith. Esq. 


D. P. M. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

July 10th 1848. 
My dear Son 

I ardently hoped that you would have written me 
about our affairs before this, and that I should have 
some guide to lead from whelming darknefs — but it is 
in vain to wait! I wish to tell you all that concerns us, 
but you are silent about your being at home or absent 
from it. 

I have concluded to have a Raffle for the large paint- 
ing with other pictures and some plate in order to be 
better satisfied, &c What ought the large painting and 
those of Washington and Jefferson by Stuart, to bring 
in a Raffle or sale? those of Adams and Monroe also — 
please to give some guefs and tell what estimate you 
place upon Columbus, Vespucius, Magellan, Cortez and 
the Bard of Ofsian — 

I wrote you a week ago but no answer has come to 
me tho 'twas important I should have one. 

Your M 

Mr. Smith suggested a raffle to Mrs. Madison of her 
personal effects. The suggestion was satisfactory to her 
and she endorsed on his communication a list of personal 
property decided to be unnecessary to keep. To Mr. 
Smith's further suggestion that she notify her friends 
of the raffle she courteously declined. The raffle had so 
far advanced in the arrangements as to be nearly ready 
when Mr. Buchanan signified his displeasure with the 
undertaking and it was abandoned. Mrs. Madison re- 
garded the trustees of the fund as her advisers, generally, 
on business. 

Of the twenty-five thousand dollars, five thousand 
was disbursed immediately in the defrayment of debts 
including the mortgage indebtedness to John Jacob 
Astor. The balance of the fund was invested in 
interest-bearing securities. The list of creditors 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

shows the depth of debt. An item is seventy dollars 
to redeem the pledge of silver forks and gravy spoons, 
and twenty dollars to take up gold chain. An item 
is for reimbursement to a young nephew for postage 
of his letters to her; she had asked that an account be 
kept. Other items are accounts with tradesmen for 
necessaries of life. Some of the large loans, partic- 
ularly that of Mr. Corcoran, were by well-to-do people 
who were not disposed to crowd. 

Relieved of the burden of debt her spirits rebounded 
and she went on a little jollification. 

Let poets boast of Arno's "shelvy side," 
And sing the beauties of the classic Po, 

Give me Potomac's grand, majestic tide, 
Sparkling beneath the sun's effulgent glow. 

— Winifred Gales. 

This poet to immortalize in song needs high inspira- 
tion to reach the proper note for the arrowy Rhone, the 
murmuring Loire, the silvery Thames, the blue Danube, 
the broad Amazon, the palisaded Hudson, the fertile Nile, 
the fierce Tigres, but yet higher inspiration to harmonize 
with the majestic Potomac. 

The Potomac when its journey to the deep is almost 
made — where the broader bosom with the broken shores 
and offspring streams is a union for grandeur and beauty 
— was as alluring in the ante-bellum days. 

Friday Morning. 
Dear Mrs. Seaton, — As I could not accompany Mr. 
Seaton on his expedition to Piney Point, I hope for the 
subordinate pleasure of listening to his recital of its 
incidents, his capture of fishes, his battles with the 
mosquitoes, etc., etc. * * * 

Dan'l Webster. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

July 20, 1848, is the date Mrs. Madison paid Mr. 
Jamison for taking her party to the boat for the trip 
to Piney Point and July 28 is the date she paid Captain 
Mitchell for the return passage. That she enjoyed the 
outing she writes to the young artist, Miss Millegan : 

We propose to go home tomorrow after deriving 
benefit and pleasure from our indulgence.* 

Baron E. Hyde de Neuville during the French revo- 
lution was an emigre and lived on the Raritan, New 
Jersey. He was close to Louis XVIII and Charles X. 
On the enthronement of the former, he came to the 
United States as the Minister. And from the States he 
returned to be a Minister to Charles X. The United 
States to the Baron had been a refuge in season of politi- 
cal storm and for it he had an affection in degree equal- 
ling his affection for his native land. In Washington, 
the people liked him and he liked them; it was a liking 
from the heart; not on one part bowing to station, nor 
on the other, diplomatic veneer. And him here is they, 
the Baron and the Baroness. Sure, the de Neuvilles 
were noble souls who to commemorate the birth of the 
Due de Bordeaux or Henry V could think of a plan so 
unusual and so unusually humane. 

Dear Sir, — It is my intention, in celebration of the 
baptism of the young prince who is one day to rule over 
the Franks, to make free one poor little slave child. I 
pray sir, please you, without any mention of my name 
to obtain information respecting the young slave girl 
who is spoken of in the enclosed advertisement, to be 

*Piney Point is described in Mrs. Thornton's Diary. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

sold at public sale, by Moses Poor, auctioneer. This 
communication I desire to be for yourself alone. * * * 
I have the honor to offer you the assurance of my 
distinguished consideration. 


Washington, 25 June, 1821. 
Monsieur Seaton.* 

E. Hyde de Neuville. 

The Baron was the Minister, 1816-'22. At the draw- 
ing room of Mrs. Madison, came the Baron and Baroness 
and suite in apparel gay to typify la belle France. 

Mrs. Smith says: 

Deer. 5th 1816. Thursday morning. 

* * * Mr. Neuville and suite were there in most 
splendid costume — not their court dresses however. 
Blue coats cover'd with gold embroidery. The collar 
and back literally cover'd with wreaths of fleur de lys 
with white underclothes and large chapeaux with feathers. 
The minister's feathers were white, the secretaries black, 
and their dresses tho' on the same style not so superb as 
his. Madame and Mademoiselle were very handsomely 
dress'd in white sattin.f 

Baroness de Neuville and Mrs. Madison in nature 
were akin. To either, what greater praise! 

Washington Oct. 14th 48. 

My dear Madame de Neuville will accept my affec- 
tionate salutations, and do me the favor to believe that 
the long space of time which has elapsed since I saw 
her has not diminished my constant love & interest for 
her, and her excellent husband the Baron de Neuville. 

* William Winston Seaton. A Biographical Sketch. 

■fForty Years of Washington Society. Margaret Bayard Smith. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

I ask leave to present a worthy citizen of Washington 
to your acquaintance — who visits France, England & 
Belgium by appointment of our Executive, on businefs 
of his Government. Mr. Peter Hagner J r is the son of 
an old and respected friend of mine, — who, with us all 
will be much gratified to know that he has had the favor 
of seeing you. 

Ever yours 

D. P. Madison. 

Peter Hagner was born in Philadelphia, October 1, 
1772; he died in Washington, July 16, 1850. He was 
educated in the University of Pennsylvania. After a 
few years' employment in the counting-house of a Phila- 
delphia firm, Philip Crammond and Co., he entered the 
service of the United States, and continued in it until 
the year of his death. He entered the government serv- 
ice, 1793, through the recommendation of Mrs. Dolly 
Todd — Mrs. Madison. He was a bookkeeper in the 
office of the War Department accountant; and success- 
ively he was chief clerk and an additional accountant. 
Into his office came Washington and Hamilton and they 
took kindly notice of him. In 1817, upon its creation, 
he was appointed Third Auditor of the Treasury and 
continued in that office until his resignation. 

The Washington Union has this tribute by Thomas 
Ritchie : 

No government could ever boast of a more able, hon- 
est and efficient officer; he has been worth more than 
his weight in gold to his country. He has been a model 
of what a public servant should be; and hereafter no 
higher compliment can be paid to a public officer than 
to say of him (similar to what was said in Athens of 
Aristides the Just), "He is as virtuous as Peter Hagner." 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

His second wife's maiden name was Francis Randall. 
He and she had sons and daughters ten; of the seven 
sons, three chose arms, three, law; and one, medicine. 
All the sons were pre-eminent in their chosen profes- 

Peter Hagner, junior, or Peter Valentine Hagner rose 
to the rank of Brigadier-General in acknowledgment of 
his military science and bravery in action. He was 
abroad for the War Department, 1848-'49, to gather 
information as to firearms, the system of artillery and 
equipments of troops. 

Accompanying a floral gift was a card inscribed "To 
Mrs. Madison from her little sweethearts." 

My precious little sweet-hearts daughters of beloved 
f d Judge & Mrs. Mason. Be pleased to accept a cake 
from me which tho' cunningly made & prepared for 
you by me cannot equal those sweet flowers I rec d on 
Sunday, resembling each of you as if they were fairy 
sisters — 

I prefs y r dear lips in imagination beginning with 
Fanny & ending with Catie and the peerlefs Baby. 

D. P.' M. 
To the little Mifses Mason 

Elizabeth Fries Lummis to have Fitz-Greene Hal- 
leck's autograph sent him a graceful note. And the poet 
promptly responded with the spirited lines, the first two — 

The song that o'er me hovered 

In summer's hour, in summer's hour. 

Miss Lummis became a poetess herself. Before she 
was seventeen she changed Silvio Pellico's Euphemia 

*Eminent and Representative Men of Virginia and the District 
of Columbia of the Nineteenth Century. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

of Messina into English and when she was seventeen 
changed her name to Ellet. Professor William H. Ellet 
was of the chemistry branch of the Columbia College, 
New York city. Soon after the marriage, was produced 
on the stage her tragedy based on a Venetian incident, 
Teresa Contarini. Much inquiry and investigation were 
involved in her most important achievement, Women of 
the American Revolution. It encouraged her for a com- 
panion subject, Domestic History of the American Revo- 
lution. The Court Circles of the Republic, in collabora- 
tion with Mrs. R. E. Mack is a worthy work. Mrs. 
Ellet began her literary utility early and although she 
did not live a long life she accomplished a great deal. 

New York Dec. 18th (1848) 
Dear Madam 

I trust you will excuse the liberty I take in addressing 
you when you learn the object I have in view. I am 
collecting materials for a volume of biographical 
sketches of the heroic and distinguished Ladies of the 
Revolution. In the hope of doing justice to the mem- 
ory of many whose noble conduct and patriotic sacri- 
fices exerted a great influence on the destinies of their 
country. I have sought information from surviving 
members of their families — such as might enable me to 
furnish a record to last for posterity. — my volume 
would be unspeakably enriched if you would permit me 
to add a sketch of yourself — a personal biography, with 
no further reference than may be necessary to those 
political events which are matters of history. 

Should you, dear Madam, feel disposed to grant me 
facilities for such a Sketch, I would refer you to Mr. 
Calhoun and Senator Butler from South Carolina, or 
to Prof. Palfrey of Boston (who is now in Washington) 
or to Capt. and Mrs. Wilkes: all of whom know me, 
and will I trust, bear satisfactory testimony as to my 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ability to present such a work in a popular form. In 
case you consider my request favorably, will you have 
the goodness to commission some one — if your own 
time should be occupied — to point me out sources of 
information — and let me know how far I may depend 
on those you can furnish? 

Please let any communication be addressed to me — 
care of William M. Lummis — New York. 
I am, dear Madam 

most respectfully yours 

E. F. Ellet 

Washington Jany 3d 1848. (1849) 

I have received, my dear Madam, your letter of the 
18 th ult. informing me of your design to publish a vol- 
ume of sketches of the patriotic ladies of the Revolu- 
tion — and of your wish to include my life among the 

Having been but a child at the close of that glorious 
struggle which resulted in our Independence, I can lay 
no claim to be included among that distinguished clafs 
whose exploits and sacrifices well deserve to be com- 
memorated. Thanking you for your kindnefs and af- 
suring you that I shall look forward with much interest 
to your promised volume. 

With friendly salutations Yours 

D. P. Madison. 
To M^ E. F. Ellet 

Care of W m M. Lummis — 
New York 

Will M rs Madison accept a piece of the Bride and 
Groom's Cake, from 

her gratefully attached 

Rosalie V. Smith 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

From Mrs. George Graham :* 

Will you my dear M rs Madison accept the Shawl as 
a small testimony of my affection, and desire to live in 
your remembrance. 

Thine in all sincerity 

M G Graham 
It came from Tunis 

To Mrs. S. C. P. McDowell, Georgetown : 

I have rec d & shall obey your wishes, my dear cousin, 
by sending the autograph for your little favorite. — I 
should have hastened to have done so last eves but that 
an inflamed eye forbid the looking upon white paper 
in a bright light. I wish I had known that Mifs Plumer, 
or any of your family were here yesterday, as it w d 
have delighted me to have seen you or them. I have 
not been as far as Georgetown since I went there on 
a visit to you & y r sweet sisters, but I w d rather see 
you & hear your voices than visit your Heights or com- 
mune with your flowers. Let me persuade you to come 
soon my way in order that I may show you the im- 
provement diffused throughout a District which has 
hitherto crept lazily towards perfection. 

Accept mine with Annie's love & best wishes — 

D. P. Madison 

Miss Elizabeth Patterson was of figure, petite, of wit, 
piquant. Her crown of glory was a wavy brown; her 
laughing and beguiling eyes were hazel; her features 
Grecian; her mould, faultless; a creature for beauty be- 
yond compare. She dreamt of title. Her dream had 
promise in the appearance at Baltimore of Jerome Bona- 
parte, the youngest brother of Napoleon. They met at 
a ball given by Samuel Chase, "a signer." In a dance 

*Chief Clerk, Secretary of War; Ad-interim, Secretary of War 
in Madison's administration. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

his chain became entangled in her hair. It was signifi- 
cant of fate. Mr. Patterson objected and her friends 
warned and she retorted, "I would rather be the wife of 
Jerome Bonaparte for one hour than of any other man 
for life." And on Christmas eve, 1803, they were mar- 
ried; and with high flourish, the ceremony being per- 
formed by the Most Reverend John Carroll, Bishop of 
Baltimore. The bride did not add to her charms by 
dress for she says "there was as little as possible of any 
gown at all" and one man said he could put all her 
clothes into his pocket. The groom was nineteen and 
the bride eighteen. 

To favorably impress the Emperor Napoleon, the 
President, Mr. Jefferson, and the Secretary of State, 
Mr. Madison, addressed him by letters; and Mr. Living- 
ston, the ambassador to France, presented the affair and 
Mr. Robert Patterson, a brother, went over to advocate. 
Napoleon the only one to be satisfied, and the only one 
not, after an ominous silence put a ban on "the pre- 
tended marriage that Jerome Bonaparte contracted in a 
foreign country during his minority, without consent 
of his mother and without previous publication in his 
native land." He declared "Should he bring her along 
with him, she shall not put a foot on the territory of 
France." Jerome was discouraged but she enheartened 
him; she was confident that her beauty and persuasion 
would mollify the mighty one — and accordingly they em- 
barked. On the coast of Delaware the vessel was 
stranded. She hung her handsome clothes on the rope 
to dry and in the borrowed rustic ones, laughed gaily 
and ate heartily. Said her irritated aunt "You wicked 
girl instead of kneeling in thanksgiving for your de- 
liverance you are enjoying roast goose and apple-sauce." 
She and Jerome arrived at Lisbon where they were met 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

by a French guard to prevent her landing. A messenger 
from Napoleon inquired what he might do for Miss Pat- 
terson. To this she retorted "Tell your master that 
Madame Bonaparte is ambitious and demands her rights 
as a member of the imperial family." Jerome parted 
with his wife with the usual protestations of undimin- 
ishing love. She continued on to Amsterdam and there 
encountered the same interception. Jerome succumbed 
to the will of Napoleon and married his choice. She 
and Jerome after the parting at Lisbon never met save 
once in a picture gallery and as strangers, seeing but not 
seeing each other. Not until the death of Napoleon did 
she enter France. She mingled with royalty and to 
a degree her youthful dreams had fruition. 

Madame gave her son, Jerome, "Bo," a course at 
Harvard that he might advantageously marry, that is, 
marry a title ; and on the outcome wrote : 

I should consider an amiable prolific daughter-in-law 
a very poor compensation for all the trouble I have had 
with that boy, and most sincerely hope the amiable 
scheming (for even in America the women know their 
own interest and look as sharply after matches as they 
do here) young ladies will select some other unsuspect- 
ing dupe. 

Jerome Napoleon Bonaparte married a Baltimore 

Madame lived long, very long; in years ninety- four; 
in weariness longer as the years dragged on. She lived 
for herself and the resources for a selfish life drain. 
Writes she : 

I am dying with ennui, I doze away existence. I am 
too old to coquet, and without this stimulant I die. I 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

am tired of reading, and of all ways of killing time. 
I am tired of life, and tired of having lived. It is a 
bore to grow old.* 

Mme. Bonaparte and her royal husband came to Wash- 
ington for their wedding tour. The Madisons enter- 
tained them. Between Mrs. Madison and Mme. Bona- 
parte was closest connection ; the Madame at times living 
in the Executive Mansion; throughout they were of re- 
ciprocal helpfulness. 

My dear M rs Madison 

I shall have great pleasure in accepting your kind in- 
vitation for this evening. 

I remain your obliged 

friend E. Bonaparte 

The Story of Kalorama has been told by Corra Bacon- 
Foster and more exactly and more entertainingly is not 
to be expected. The picturesque site on a graceful curve 
of Rock Creek is a part of originally Rock Hill. The 
mansion was built, 1750. Washington to Tobias Lear, 
August 28, 1794, writes: "* * * a gentleman emi- 
nent in the profession of the law, a man of Character # 
fortune, and one who has the welfare of the New City 
much at heart — has been applied to, and accepted the 
appointed trust." The gentleman was Gustavus Scott 
and the trust, a city commissionership. The year he 
accepted the trust, he acquired the tract — 1794. 

William Augustine Washington succeeded to the own- 
ership to be followed by Joel Barlow. Mr. Barlow tells 
his nephew, Stephen Barlow, December 15, 1807: 

I have here a most delightful situation; it only wants 
the improvements we contemplate to make it a little 

*Elisabeth Patterson in Dames and Daughters of the Young 
Republic. Geraldine Brooks. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

paradise. It is a beautiful hill, about one mile from 
the Potomac and 200 feet in elevation above tidewater, 
with Washington and Georgetown under my eye and 
Alexandria eight miles below, still in view, the Potomac 
reflecting back the sun in a million forms and losing 
himself among the hills that try on each side to shove 
him from his course. If you have a plan of the city 
I can show you my very spot. Look at the stream called 
Rock Creek, that divides Washington and Georgetown. 
I am just outside of the city on the Washington side of 
the Creek, just above where it takes its last bend and 
begins its straight, short course to the Potomac. My 
hill is that white, circular spot. I find the name of 
Belair has been already given to many places in Mary- 
land and Virginia, so by the advice of friends we have 
changed it for one that is quite new — Calorama, from 
the Greek, signifying "fine view," and this place presents 
one of the finest views in America. 

"In the contemplated improvements," Latrobe, the 
architect, and Fulton, the inventor, assisted. 

Barlow went as Minister to France and M. Serurier 
came as Minister from France. Mrs. Madison to Mrs. 
Barlow, November 15, 1811, writes: 

The French Minister, Mr. Serurier, is still delighted 
with Kalorama, and takes much pleasure in beautifying 
the grounds. 

The estate was devised to Thomas Barlow. Barlow 
sold it to Henry Baldwin, to be an Associate Justice of 
the U. S. Supreme Court; and he at once conveyed it to 
Colonel George Bomford, U. S. A. The Colonel and 
Mrs. Bomford occupied it for thirty years and for a long 
time made in it a secluded home for Mrs. Stephen De- 
catur. In 1846, it was bought in the name of Thomas 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

R. Lovett as trustee for his mother, Mrs. Charles 

Kalorama was all along the rendezvous of the cultured 
of society. And, "The Lovett family proved themselves 
worthy successors of the brilliant men and women that 
had preceded them, and the cultured, hospitable life con- 
tinued. Mr. Thomas Lovett accompanied Minister 
Marsh to Constantinople in 1850 as an attache of the 
legation. This perhaps led to introductions into all the 
foreign legations in Washington whose inmates were 
always on terms of pleasant intimacy with the family 
in the most charming country residence in the District." 
Mr. Charles Fletcher was literary, extremely progressive, 
remarkably prophetic; and actively interested in many 
public projects. He numbered among his friends most 
of the prominent men of his day in official life.* 

Kalorama during the Civil War was a government 
hospital. After the war its shades and slopes made the 
popular pic-nic place for the secular and Sunday schools. 
But the beauty of Kalorama is beautifully told by Corra 
Bacon Foster and prettily pictured on twenty pages of 
the Records of the Columbia Historical Society. 

Mrs. Fletcher requests the pleasure of Mrs. Madison's 
company on Friday evening next, at 8y 2 o'clock. 

Feb. 14th. 

Eckington, Joseph Gales' country-seat, was named 
from his place of birth, in England, near Sheffield. 
Charles B. King, Washington's artist and art authority, 
was the architect. Mr. Gales and William Winston Sea- 

*Kalorama Tract, The Sunday Star, April 13, 1913. James 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ton were the editors and proprietors of the National 
Intelligencer. They reported the debates of Congress, 
one, the Senate; the other, the House. Their reportorial 
industry has preserved legislative history that without it 
would be lost. The memorable debate of Hayne and 
Webster was taken by Mr. Gales. He was proud by the 
possession of Mr. Webster's speeches with his correc- 
tive interlineations. He, with other honors, was Mayor. 
His city residence was at E and Ninth streets. 

His widow was Sarah Juliana Maria. The men and 
women of the Gales and Seaton families were all liter- 
ary and she in this talent was equally one of them. The 
family setting of this estimable lady is that her father 
was Theodoric Lee, brother of Henry Lee, "Light Horse 
Harry," who was the father of General Robert E. Lee. 

My dear Mrs Madison, 

I expect a few friends to pafs the evening with me 
and shall be most happy if you and Mifs Payne will 
give me the pleasure of your company at y 2 past 8 

Believe me dear Madam 

Most affectionately 

and Truly yours 

S. J. M. Gales. 

Mrs. Madison to Mrs. John G. Todd: 

I have received with much sensibility dear Friend 
your beautiful tho' too flattering poetry, and I desire to 
afsure that I am proud of that regard and approbation 
which had the power, and the will to brighten each 
flower, and soften each shade. 

I cannot give up a sweet hope that we may meet again, 
and continue to love each other as I do that amiable 
connexion of mine. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The name of him who lectured before the lovers of 
learning and who received Mrs. Madison's thanks for the 
chance to share with these lovers the feast, is missing. 

Permit me Sir to thank you for your interesting Dis- 
course before the Philomathian Society in Middlebury 
College — My impatience to acknowledge the receipt of 
it, with that of your kind note, will prevent me now as 
it deserves on every word.* 

George William Erving was an eminent diplomat. 

To M r Erving — 

— May I ask you my valued f d to accept from me the 
accompanying vol s — as a Mem° of one you regarded, 
whose attach* for you lasted with her life? — in the same 
sentiments & wishes for your happinefs, wherever you 
go I w d exprefs my regrets at not seeing you again. 


D. P. M. 

A Merry Christmas to Mrs. Madison, and with it a 
small token of regard from her friends, Mrs. Toombs 
& Mrs. Crittenden, which they hope she will ware for 
their sake. 

Washington Dec. 24th 

A happy Christmas my belov d Friend, and my dear 
own — 

I send you in great haste — a couple of Grouse from 
Mifsouri — by my son the Major — eat them to gratify 

ozvn friend 

E. Lee 
Dear Aunt 

I wish you a happy New Year and hope that you will 
live to enjoy many returns of the same accept this little 

*A solemn disputation in all the mysteries of the profession, 
before the face of every philomath, student in astrology, and mem- 
ber of learned societies. Goldsmith, Citizen of the World, LXVIII. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

token of affection from your devoted Niece Adele. 
Present the wreath to Cousin Annie and beg of her to 
accept it as a trifling token of my affection. 
Your affectionate Niece 


At President Polk's last reception, Dolly Madison sat 
on a raised platform. She was attired in white satin 
with the habitual turban of fringed satin of same shade 
twined about her head. The gown was cut decolette 
and displayed shoulders and arms beautiful and as beau- 
tiful as in the pristine period. The feature of the presi- 
dential reception is published in The Evening Star, Sep- 
tember 2, 1902. The preservation of this personal charm 
is corroborated to the writer by the grandniece, Mrs. 

The President entered in his diary: 

James K. Polk's Diary: 

Wednesday, 7th February, 1849.— * * * Gen- 
eral notice had been given in the City papers that the 
President's mansion would be open for the reception of 
visitors this evening. All the parlours including the 
East Room were lighted up. The Marine band of mu- 
sicians occupied the outer Hall. Many hundreds of 
persons, ladies & gentlemen, attended. It was what 
would be called in the Society of Washington a very 
fashionable levee. Foreign Ministers, their families & 
suites, Judges, members of both Houses of Congress, 
and many citizens and strangers were of the company 
present. I stood and shook hands with them for over 
three hours. Towards the- close of the evening I passed 
through the crowded rooms with the venerable Mrs. 
Madison on my arm. It was near 12 O'Clock when the 
company retired. * * * 

*The physical perfections of her young womanhood, none di- 
minished, remained when her spirit fled. Thus said by Mrs. Rich- 
ard B. (Elizabeth) Lee. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Queen Dolly's second reign was during the adminis- 
trations of Van Buren, Tyler and Polk. 

Mrs. Madison lapsed into a soft slumber. It deepened 
and deeper grew until there was no awakening. The 
transition from the dreaming to the dreamless was be- 
tween ten and eleven o'clock in the evening on Thursday, 
July 12th. Apoplexy they called it. On Monday fore- 
noon, early, the tenement was tenderly borne from the 
home corner to the church corner, St. John's; and was 
viewed by hundreds as it rested before the chancel. In 
the afternoon at four, the service began. The Rev. Mr. 
Pyne, the Rector, "delivered, in a very feeling manner, an 
eloquent and just eulogy," and was by the Rev. Mr. 
French assisted in the solemn services. The congrega- 
tion was dense and its interest, intense. The President 
was present. At half after five o'clock, the cortege 
moved to the "Congress Cemetery." The cortege was 
national. It was the largest yet seen in the city. It was 
in this order: 

The Reverend Clergy 

Attending Physicians 

Pall Bearers : 

Hon. John M. Clayton, 1 Hon. William M. Meredith, 7 
Mr. Joseph Gales, 2 Mr. Thomas Ritchie, 8 

Gen. Thomas S. Jesup, 8 Gen. J. G. Totten," 
Com. Charles Morris, 4 Com. Lewis Warrington, 1 ' 

Gen. Archibald Henderson, 6 Mr. Stephen Pleasanton, 11 
Gen. Walter Jones,' Mr. Philip H. Fendall. 12 

1 Secretary of State 7 Secretary of the Treasury. 

2 Editor National Intelligencer. 8 Editor of The Union. 

3 Quartermaster-General. 9 Chief Engineer, U. S. A. 

4 Inspector of Ordnance. 10 Chief Bureau of Ordnance 

5 Col. Com. Marine Corps and Hydrography. 

6 Lawyer 11 Fifth Auditor, Treasury 

12 District Attorney. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The Family 

The President and Cabinet 

The Diplomatic Corps 

Members of the Senate and House of Representatives 

at present in Washington, and their officers 
Judges of the Supreme Court and Courts of the District, 

and their officers 

Officers of the Army and Navy 

Mayor and Corporation of Washington 

Citizens and Strangers 

The remains were deposited in the vault, temporarily. 
The mortal is interred at Montpellier aside that of him 
whom she loved. 

Mr. Morris was ushered to a pew next behind the 
family. In the pew was an elderly lady. The services 
over, Mr. Morris and the lady arose. They faced casu- 
ally. They for a moment hesitated — in that moment of 
hesitation — were recollection and recognition. They 
voiced their recognition. They, Mrs. Lee and Mr. Mor- 
ris, were fifty-nine years before the maid of honor and 
the groomsman. Before them lie in unwakenable sleep 
— the bride. 

Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison: 

A few days before her death she said to a niece who 
had gone to her, as usual, for sympathy over some small 
grievance : — 

"My dear, do not trouble about it; there is nothing 
in this world worth really caring for. Yes, believe me, 
I, who have lived so long, repeat to you, there is nothing 
in- this world here below worth caring for." 
For two days she lingered apparently without suffering, 
waking only when aroused to momentary consciousness, 
when she would smile lovingly, and put out her arms to 
embrace those whom she loved so well. Several times 
she murmured "My poor boy!" as she seemed to feel 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

her son's presence near her, and gently relapsed into that 
long rest which is peace. 

It was proposed by the Richmond Whig to the ladies 
of Richmond and to all the ladies of Virginia, whereso- 
ever they may be that for thirty days they wear upon 
the left arm a bow of black as a tribute. 

The journals reach the heights of eulogy. The Union 

Even when she was possessed of the highest buoy- 
ancy of spirits, and presided as the tutelary genius of 
the White House, she never suffered her head to be 
turned by the most devoted attentions which were always 
paid her. She preserved that equanimity of spirit, that 
simplicity of character, that warmth and sympathy of 
heart which preserved her from all affectation and ar- 
rogance of manner. She was the most considerate and 
polite person we have ever known. 

The National Intelligencer, editorially, Saturday, the 
14th, made the announcement : 

It is with saddened hearts that we announce to our 
readers the decease of Mrs. Madison, Widow of James 
Madison, Ex-President of the United States. * * * 

Beloved by all who personally knew her, and univer- 
sally respected, this venerable Lady closed her long and 
well-spent life with the calm resignation which good- 
ness of heart combined with piety only can impart. It 
would seem an abuse of terms to say that we regret the 
departure of one so ripe and so fitted for a better world. 
But, in the case of this excellent Lady, she continued 
until within a few weeks to grace society with her pres- 
ence, and lend to it those charms with which she adorned 
the circle of the highest, the wisest, and best, during the 
bright career of her illustrious husband. Wherever she 
appeared, every one became conscious of the presence 
of the spirit of benignity and gentleness, united to all 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the attributes of feminine loveliness. For ourselves 
whose privilege it was to know and admire her through 
the last forty years of her life, it would not be easy to 
speak in terms of exaggeration of the virtues and win- 
ning manners of this eminent Lady. To attempt it 
would add no brightness to her fair name, and would 
be little needed to move the public sympathy. All of 
our own country and thousands in other lands will need 
no language of Eulogy to inspire a deep and sincere 
regret when they learn the demise of one who touched 
all hearts by her goodness and won the admiration of 
all by the charms of dignity and grace. 

Simultaneously appeared the tribute of the 
Washington Corporation. 

Resolutions of Respect to the Memory of the late Mrs. 
D. P. Madison, widow of Ex-President Madison. 

Resolved by the Board of Aldermen and Board of 
Common Council of the city of Washington, That they 
have heard with deep sensibility of the death of Mrs. 
D. P. Madison. * * * 

Resolved, That the many virtues and excellences of 
the deceased adorning as they did in a pre-eminent de- 
gree the domestic and social circle, and adding lustre to 
the dignified station she has held as the wife and com- 
panion of the pure and illustrious Madison, have made 
a deep impression upon this community, in the midst of 
which she has passed so large a portion of her life, and 
who will always hold in respectful remembrance her 

* * * 

Silas H. Hill, 

President of the Board of Common Council, 
W. Lenox, 

President of the Board of Aldermen. 
Approved, July 13, 1849. 
W. W. Seaton, Mayor. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Anne Royall in The Huntress, July 21, 1849: 

Mrs. Madison Is No More!! 
She departed this life on the 12th instant, between 10 
and 11 o'clock P.M. — aged about 82. Having had the 
happiness of her acquaintance, we had written a short 
eulogy in honor of her virtues, but laid it aside, upon 
seeing that of the Intelligencer, herewith copy into our 
paper. It is one of the most beautiful specimens of 
composition that ever fell from the pen of man, and 
everv word true. 

Mrs. Madison's will antedates her death only a few 
days. She bequeathed ten thousand dollars of the fund 
vested in the trustees, Buchanan, Mason and Smith, to 
her son, John Payne. The remaining ten thousand to 
her adopted daughter, Annie Payne, for life. In the 
alternative, if her son survived her adopted daughter he 
should have the ten thousand or if she survived him the 
amount bequeathed to her should be free of conditions. 
All other property, which included the Dolly Madison 
house, was bequeathed and devised to the son. The 
personal property other than the twenty thousand dol- 
lars appropriated by Congress amounted to about eight 
thousand dollars. The latter amount included four paint- 
ings by Gilbert Stuart appraised by Mr. King, the local 
artist, at six hundred and fifty dollars. The son con- 
tested the will unsuccessfully. Eminent counsel repre- 
sented the litigants. Mr. James M. Carlisle appeared 
for the son and Walter Jones for the adopted daughter. 
Three weeks prior, more exactly, June 11, Mrs. Madison 
signed a will drawn by the son which to him gave every- 
thing and the exclusive executorship. Judge (John 
Young) Mason influenced in favor of the daughter by 
adoption. In the litigation: 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Lee states she came to see Mrs. Madison on the 
morning of the 9th of July, '49. She was quite sick 
and kept her eyes closed. After some time when she 
Miss Payne Mrs. Thomas and J. M. Cutts were in the 
room it was proposed she, Mrs. M. should have a will, 
by the Ladies. Afterwards J M Cutts asked her to sign 
a paper or will to give Cousin Payne something and 
Cousin Anna perhaps too. To which it was thought she 
assented. Miss Payne was asking and endeavoring to 
get her to open her eyes. She had opened her eyes and 
recognized me. Mrs. Lee when down and was asked to 
affix her name to this paper. She afterwards learnt J. 
P. Todd had a will. 

A Grandfather's Legacy. — William Wilson Corcoran. 

Washington, July 20, 1849. 

My Dear Sir: I have been for some days past anx- 
ious to address you, but amid the difficult and sad duties 
which I have been called upon to perform, in conse- 
quence of that mournful event for which you must have 
been prepared before your departure, I have not been 
able until now to return you our heartfelt thanks for the 
sympathy, kindness and delicacy with which you have, 
to our grateful observance, evinced your friendship and 
respect for our loved and honored aunt, Mrs. Madison. 

Be pleased, therefore, to accept from myself, Cousin 
Annie Payne, and immediate family, our warmest and 
most respectful acknowledgments for the many atten- 
tions and kindnesses through which your respect and 
friendship have been evinced towards her whom we now 
mourn for, and towards those whom your intimacy with 
her and the family enabled you to know were most dear 
to her, but especially towards her devoted adopted 
daughter and niece — now prostrate and in very precari- 
ous health from over exertion and excitement conse- 
quent on her irreparable loss. 

I fear I shall have to encounter greater difficulty in 
carrying out the wishes of my honored aunt as I and 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

all her friends knew them, and on your return shall 
avail myself of your advice as one among that number. 
Meanwhile, receive the assurances of our united and 
profound regards and respect. 

Yours truly, 

J. Madison Cutts 
W. W. Corcoran, Esq. 
Bath Springs, Va. 

Hon. James Buchanan, July 15, 1849: 

Full of days and beloved by all who enjoyed the privi- 
lege of her acquaintance, her memory will be cherished 
throughout the whole extent of the Union. 

Hon. John J. Crittenden, July 20, 1849 : 

She was full of years and honors, and the natural 
time for her departure had come. Still her death can- 
not but be felt as a great bereavement. She was the 
bright example in which was combined the grace, the 
dignity and virtue of her sex. Though we knew from 
her age that she must soon leave us, still we cannot see 
so much excellence buried from our sight without some 
natural grief. 

Hon. John Y. Mason, July 20, 1849 : 

The whole nation will mourn her death, and none 
more than I, who was honored by her confidence and 
friendship, and who repaid it with the affection and 
veneration which a son owes to his mother. 

Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, August 11, 1849: 

It is true my acquaintance with Mrs. Madison was 
short and slight compared with that of many of her 
numerous friends, but it had created in me an admira- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

tion of her many excellencies and virtues and an interest 
in her welfare which you do not overestimate. And 
though the light of her sun was permitted to linger 
longer above that much-dreaded horizon which separ- 
ates the visible from the invisible world, much longer 
than falls to the lot of most of the sojourners in life, 
and though none could reasonably expect or even hope 
to enjoy the blessings of her society much longer, yet 
her sudden decease touches the soul and afflicts the heart 
as if we had not the ever-present consciousness that she 
but yielded to the inevitable as well as wise and benefi- 
cent law of nature in falling as she has, in due time, 
like the ripe fruit, after all the functions, duties and 
obligations of life had been fully and perfectly per- 
formed. No woman in this country and few in any 
other ever rilled a larger sphere in their day than Mrs. 
Madison did in hers, and none will ever leave a name 
and memory more respected, loved and revered. 

William C. Preston has in his journal: 

When I knew her in after life, widowed, poor and 
without prestige of station, I found her the same good- 
natured, kindhearted, considerate, stately person, that 
she had been in the heyday of her fortunes. Many of 
her minor habits, formed in early life, continued upon 
her in old age and poverty. Her manner was urbane, 
gracious, with an almost imperceptible touch of Quaker- 
ism. She continued to the last to wear around her 
shoulders a magnificent shawl of a green color. She 
always wore a lofty turban and took snuff from a snuff- 
box of lava or platina, never from gold. Two years 
before her death, I was in a whist party with her. when 
Mr. John Quincy Adams was her partner, and Lord 
Ashburton mine. Each of the three was over seventy 
years of age. 

Mrs. Trist: 

My recollections of Mrs. Madison are of the most 
agreeable nature, and were formed from a long, inti- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

mate acquaintance beginning in my childhood and end- 
ing only with her life. She had a sweet, natural dignity 
of manner which attracted while it commanded respect; 
a proper degree of reserve without stiffness in company 
with strangers; and a stamp of frankness and sincerity 
which, with her intimate friends became gayety and even 
playfulness of manner. There was, too, a cordial, gen- 
ial, sunny atmosphere surrounding her, which won all 
hearts — I think one of the secrets of her immense pop- 
ularity. She was said to be, during Mr. Madison's 
administration, the most popular person in the United 
States ; and she certainly had a remarkable memory for 
names and faces. No person introduced to Mrs. Mad- 
ison at one of the crowded levees at the White House 
required a second introduction on meeting her again, 
but had the gratification of being recognized and ad- 
dressed by his or her own name. Her son, Paine Todd, 
was a notoriously bad character. His misconduct was 
the sorrow of his mother's life. Mr. Madison, during 
his lifetime, bore with him like a father and paid many 
of his debts, but he was an incorrigible spendthrift. 
His heartless, unprincipled conduct embittered the last 
years of his mother's life, and no doubt shortened it.* 

William Cabell Rives: 

On the 15th day of September, 1794, he was married 
to Mrs. Dorothea Payne Todd, who, for the space of 
forty-two years, till the close of his eventful life, was 
the faithful and tender companion of his bosom, the 
partner of his joys and sorrows, and the ornament, as 
well as helpmeet, of his household. This lady, besides 
a graceful and attractive person, was endowed with a 
sweetness of temper, and an unvarying tact and good 
sense, which fitted her eminently to play the part that 
devolved upon her in the future elevated fortunes of 
her husband ; diffusing around her, in the Presidential 

*Ladies of the White House. Laura Carter Holloway. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

mansion and in the social circles of Washington, an at- 
mosphere of smiles and good humor, in which every 
sentiment of political animosity was for the time ex- 
tinguished and forgotten.* 

Benjamin Ogle Tayloe : 

Mrs. Madison was a very remarkable woman, had 
been very handsome, was graceful and gracious. Her 
bonhomie could not be surpassed. She was loved alike 
by rich and poor. 

In entertaining society, Mr. Madison was greatly 
aided by his wife, who though not highly cultivated, 
was a woman of wonderful tact. * * * She made 
Mr. Madison a good wife, her extreme amiability and 
tact adapting her to the times; it being beyond dispute 
that no lady has ever done the honors of the White 
House so gracefully or acceptably as Mrs. Madison. 
She never forgot a face or a name.f 

John S. C. Abbott in the Lives of the Presidents: 

She was, in person and character, queenly. As grace- 
ful as Josephine, with a heart overflowing with kind- 
ness, endowed with wonderful powers of conversation, 
persuasion, and entertainment, and with a face whose 
frankness and winning smiles at sight won all hearts, 
she contributed greatly to the popularity and power of 
her husband in the elevated sphere through which he 
afterwards moved. 

As in the case of Napoleon, all who wished for spe- 
cial favors felt safe if they could secure the advocacy 
of Josephine; so it was found, that through Mrs. Mad- 
ison, one could ever obtain the readiest access to the 
heart of her distinguished husband. She was a true 
and sympathizing friend of all who were in sorrow. 

*Life and Times of James Madison. William C. Rives. 
fin Memoriam: Benjamin Ogle Tayloe. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mr. Catlin, the renowned delineator of Indian life, 
when a young man, just after his marriage, was in Vir- 
ginia, in the vicinity of Mr. Madison's home, endeavor- 
ing to earn a living by painting portraits. He was poor, 
a stranger, in a cheerless inn, and his young wife was 
taken sick with the intermittent fever. Their situation 
was desolate indeed. But soon a lady of wonderfully 
prepossessing appearance and manners entered the cham- 
ber, apologized gracefully for the intrusion, introduced 
herself as Mrs. Madison, and, taking off bonnet and 
shawl, sat down by the bedside of the sick one, cheered 
her with words of hope, administered the medicines, 
and from that hour, with a sister's tenderness, watched 
over her, and supplied her with comforts and luxuries, 
until she was quite recovered. 

In Washington, she was the life of society. A group 
of the young were gathered around her. If there were 
any diffident, timid young girl just making her appear- 
ance, she was sure to find in Mrs. Madison a support- 
ing and encouraging friend. Probably no lady has thus 
far occupied so prominent a position in the very pe- 
culiar society which has constituted our republican court 
as Mrs. Madison. * * * Mrs. Madison was the 
charm and the life of every social circle in which she 

Mr. Abbott quotes John Quincy Adams: 

Of that band of benefactors of the human race, the 
founders of the Constitution of the United States, James 
Madison is the last who has gone to his reward. Their 
glorious work has survived them all. They have trans- 
mitted the precious bond to us, now entirely a succeed- 
ing generation to them. May it never cease to be a 
voice of admonition to us, of our duty to transmit the 
inheritance unimpaired to our children of the rising age ! 

Mr. Abbott supplements: 

She was one of the most remarkable women our 
country has produced; and it is fitting that her memory 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

should descend to posterity in company with that of the 
companion of her life. 

A grand-nephew, J. Madison Cutts: 

I was accustomed to stand by her side at her recep- 
tions, often holding her hand, and was introduced to 
her friends as "her little Madison," and well remember 
one of those occasions when I saw around her Webster, 
Clay and Calhoun, and ever afterward was accustomed 
to call the Kentucky statesman "Cousin Henry." I had 
the most implicit faith in her, and often on several of 
her birthdays, moved and instigated by my cousin Anna, 
her adopted daughter, I had asked her, "Aunty, how 
old are you," and received annually the same reply. I 
at first believed that she never could grow older. With 
equal faith when she told me that the statue of Jeffer- 
son, then in front of the White House, always went to 
dinner whenever it heard the bell ring, I would sit for 
hours watching it, until with developing reasoning 
powers I had learned my first lesson in logic—to supply 
another premise, "but it never hears the bell ring," and 
draw the correct conclusion, therefore it never goes to 

A grandniece, Adele Cutts Williams, describes a levee 
of the latter days: 

The earliest recollections I have of Aunt Madison are 
associated with a lovely day in May or June when ar- 
rayed in our best, my brother and I accompanied our 
mother across the ragged little square opposite the White 
House. We were ushered in by Ralph the young negro, 
who had succeeded Paul so well known as Mr. Mad- 
ison's body-servant in old times. We were announced 
as "young Master and Miss." My mother was "Miss 
Ellen." This was called Mrs. Madison's Levee-day and 
everybody came, much as they do now, to make a short 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

visit, gossip a little, then give place to new-comers. 
Aunt stood near the window. I was a curious little 
girl only eight or nine years of age, and my wide-open 
eyes saw a very sweet-looking lady, tall and very erect. 
She greeted us affectionately and told us to go with 
Cousin Anna (Anna Payne) who would amuse the 
young people. I clung to my mother's hand and took 
observations after the manner of children in general. 

Aunt Madison wore a purple velvet dress, with plain 
straight skirt amply gathered to a tight waist — cut low 
and filled in with soft tulle. Her pretty white throat 
was encircled by a lace cravatte such as the old-fash- 
ioned gentlemen used to wear, tied twice around and 
fastened with an amethyst pin (which I remember, as 
Aunt afterwards gave my mother the earrings to cor- 
respond and I was sometimes allowed to wear them.) 
Thrown lightly over the shoulders was a little lace shawl 
or cape as in her portrait. I thought her turban very 
wonderful, as I never saw any one else wear such a 
head-dress. It was made of some soft silky material 
and became her rarely. 

There were two little bunches of very black curls on 
either side the smooth white brow; her eyes were blue 
and laughed when she smiled and greeted the friends 
who seemed so glad to see her. I wondered at her 
smooth soft skin as I was told that she was over seventy, 
which at that time was a great age to me. 

A throng of people passed in and out, among them 
some old ladies, whom I have since known or heard of 
as the wives of men known to fame. There was Mrs. 
Decatur who at that time lived in a little cottage near 
Georgetown College, and never went out except to call 
on Aunt Madison. She wore a little close bonnet, and 
had great sad dark eyes. Mrs. Lear (Mrs. Tobias Lear 
whose husband was Washington's secretary) was 
another most beautiful old lady whom we all called 
Aunt, I suppose because all the children loved her. Mr. 
Bancroft who lived in the Ogle Tayloe house, next door; 
Mr. and Mrs. Webster, whom I saw for the first time; 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

also Mrs. Polk who was always so gracefully attentive 
to Mrs. Madison, and was then a tall, handsome, young- 
looking person and much beloved in society, which was 
of course much smaller and more united than at this 
time when the circle is so much larger. I cannot re- 
member if I saw Mr. Clay on that occasion, but I have 
often been honored as a child at Aunt's house by his 
friendly greeting. In those days our people were great 
Whigs, and even now I recall the family mourning over 
his defeat in the Presidential canvass. There were 
some foreign ministers who attracted my attention; also 
I think, M. Bodisco with his beautiful young wife; and 
M. Calderon de la Barca with his wife whom I shall 
always remember as the most charming hostess for 
young people. Long after, when I was still a school- 
girl, I, with other girls of my own age, was allowed to 
go to her evenings which she called "Tertulias." We 
spoke Spanish or French, and I think many of us may 
thank Madame Calderon that through her we were stim- 
ulated to take up the real study of these two languages. 
This Levee was over at four o'clock, when only we 
of the family remained with Aunt who was still fresh 
and smiling. I have a very distinct consciousness in 
connection with this Levee that she disliked nothing so 
much as loud talking or laughing.* 

Jessie Benton Fremont in Souvenirs of My Time: 

I had the good fortune to be in Westminster Abbey 
and hear Dean Stanley illustrate the Parable of the 
Talents from the use made of "talents" committed to 
their keeping by three distinguished men. * 

Three women come to my mind as illustrious of this 
parable ; one, as having kept hers "wrapped in a napkin." 
Each of them I knew in her very old age when time had 
put its stamp and verdict on the result; each had large 
talents entrusted to her, and long life and conspicuous 
position in which to use them. 

*Our Early Presidents, their Wives and Children. Harriet Tay- 
lor Upton. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison was one. As the wife of a President, 
and during the stirring war time of 1812, she had a 
governing position. She had the great gift of healthy 
beauty, and much clear common sense as well as quick 
wit; but her crowning talent was her charm of manners. 
She had what the French term courtoisie de coeur, as 
well as the courtesy of form also. This no selfish per- 
son can have. * * * 

The Empress Josephine must have had much the same 
manner as Mrs. Madison. So had Madame Recamier; 
I knew intimately well in Paris one of her old French 
friends who was part of her youth, as well as of her 
late days, who gave me a lovable instance of her prompt 

I have heard many things, * * * of Mrs. Mad- 
ison's way of receiving in the White House. While 
she was talking with the more distinguished people of 
her quick eye would mark some shy young man, or 
nervous-looking woman, not yet used to the society in 
which she was so naturally at home; after the first part 
of the reception she always moved about the rooms as a 
lady would in her own house, and in her own bright 
natural way said something to any one, and especially to 
these shy and nervous people which made them glow 
with the pleased feeling that they were welcome and 
made to be part of her reception. * * * 

Mrs. Madison's considerate happy manner outlasted 
time and change and many troubles, and made her house 
in Washington a place where strangers and residents 
went with pleasure — a shabby house, and the tall hand- 
some old lady in shabby old gowns of velvet or brocade 
nowise altered from the fashion of her days of power. 
But she was Mrs. Madison. And in the Washington 
of my younger day name and character outranked ap- 
pearances. No one questioned her wearing these short- 
waisted, puff-sleeved, gored velvet gowns, with a muslin 
neckerchief tucked into the low waist of the gown, and 
a little India scarf of lovely faded tones over it. A 
wide and stiff quilling of net rose high around her throat 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

always — and, I fear me, a little rouge and powder were 
also in use to cover Time's footsteps ; the bad taste of 
the day discouraged gray hair, and Mrs. Madison's dark 
row of curls was always surmounted by a turban. And 
with all this she was handsome, magnetic and simply 
dignified. And very agreeable — with a memory and 
kind words for every one. 

She dined out often and was the chief person always ; 
and on New Year's day her rooms were crowded, for 
every one who was any one went there across from the 

Marian Gouveneur : 

It is to the kindness of Mrs. Madison Cutts that I 
owe the memory of a pleasant visit to Mrs. Madison. 
She took me to call upon her one afternoon, and I shall 
never forget the impression made upon me by her turban 
and long earrings. Her surroundings were of a most 
interesting character and her graceful bearing and 
sprightly presence, even in extreme old age, have left a 
lasting picture upon my memory. * * * The after- 
noon of my memorable visit to this former mistress of 
the White House I remember meeting quite a number 
of visitors in her drawing-room, as temporary sojourn- 
ers at the National Capital were often eager to meet 
the gracious woman who had figured so conspicuously 
in the social history of the country.* 

Mary Estelle Craig, when little Molly Cutts, was much 
of the time with her popular grand-aunt. She says: 

My recollections of Aunt Madison are most charming 
and have been a green place in my memory all these 
years; she was always so lovely and kind to her little 
grandnieces, took so much interest in us and presented 
us to every one who came to call. 

*As I Remember; Recollections of American Society During the 
Nineteenth Century. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

And, "Mrs. Craig remembers very vividly her Christ- 
mas spent with her aunt. The presents dear to the child 
heart given by Mrs. Madison with a tender kiss. 'Christ- 
mas box, Molly,' as she said. Then church at St. John's 
and later a levee where Mrs. Madison, stately in black 
velvet and white lace, would receive first her friends and 
later strangers. Mrs. Craig frequently met at her aunt's, 
Webster, Clay and Calhoun and later Mr. Buchanan." 

Mrs. Craig is the daughter of Thomas and Hannah 
H. Cutts. She is the widow of Captain William Craig, 
U. S. A. 


December (23) 

My dearest Aunt, 

I am quite ashamed to own that I have not written 
to you since I left Washington City. But my dearest 
Aunt, its not my fault for I have been going to school 
ever since to M r & M rs Steavenson who are considered 
very excelent teachers, they are assisted by two Miss 
Miss Franklin's M rs Stevenson's sisters. There are a 
great many schools hear and also a College which con- 
tains nearly 200 students ; 

I think this is the dullest place I ever lived in their 
has not been a dancing party hear since I have been 
hear. Their is a man hear trying to rais a dancing 
school but I doant think he will succeed. Ma received 
a leter from Uncle John the other day he said he sent 
me a very splendid book cost him 75 dollars Dear 
Aunt I have not a word of news to tell you so I must 
close for the present Christ mas Gift 

All join in love to you and Cousin Annie good by 
your affectionate neice 

Mary Estelle Cutts 

Mrs. Madison's originations and quotations: 
In her mother's album: 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The passions are like sounds of nature, only heard in 
her solitudes. Our senses may captivate us with beauty, 
but in absence we can forget or by reason we can con- 
quer so superficial an impression; our vanity may enam- 
our us with rank, but the affections of vanity are traced 
in sand; but who can love genius and not feel that the 
sentiments it excites partake of its own intenseness and 
its own immortality? 

D. P. Madison.* 

What would the world be to us if the children were no 

We should dread the desert behind us worse than the 

dark before. f 

'Tis poor and not becoming perfect gentry 
To build their glories at their fathers' cost, 

But at their own expense of blood and virtue 
To raise their living monuments.! 

It is what we deserve when we do not even try to 
appreciate the good the gods provide us. 

Thomas Jefferson who was not in America pending 
the framing of the Constitution, whose information in 
all that occurred in the Convention, and of the motives 
and intents of the framers are derived from M r Madison 
whose opinions guided him in the construction of that 
instrument, is looked up to by many as its father and 
almost unanimously as its only true expositor. 

Honor, like the rainbow, flies the pursuer, and pursues 
the flier. 

D. P. Madison. 

June 25th 1842 

*Dolly Madison. J. Madison Cutts. 




Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison excused her erring son, saying: "For- 
give his eccentricities, for his heart is all right"; and 
adding the quotation with which Mr. Madison attempted 
to console her : 

Errors like straws upon the surface flow; 

Those who would seek for pearls must dive below.* 

For Mifs Dahlgren. 
— Deliberate on all things with thy friend ; 
But since friends grow not thick on every bough, 
First, on thy friend, deliberate with thyself, 
Pause, ponder, sift, not eager in the choice 
Nor jealous of the chosen; fixing, for 
Judge before friendship, then confide till death. 

D. P. Madison 
Washington Feby 14th I849.f 

The governmental residence of the President was 
originally called The President's House ; and subsequently 
The Executive Mansion; both dignified designations. 
The earliest mention of it in this publication as the White 
House is in Mrs. Tyler's letter, 1841. By that time, 
the name had become popularized. The name came 
through some unexplained pleasantry during the Jack- 
son administration. $ 

The President's House for a period was known as 
The Great House. It is so called in Mrs. Thornton's 
diary, March 11, 1809; Mrs. Smith's letter, November 
23, 1817; Mr. Knapp's historical annotation, 1837. 

*Dolly Madison. J. Madison Cutts. 

■\Dolly Madison. Maud Wilder Goodwin. 

$See The Story of the White House— Esther Singleton. Vol. I, 
pp. 210'1. 

Social Life in the Early Republic— Anne Hollingsworth Whar- 
ton, p. 240. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Strange it is that such an important circumstance should 
have been lost. Of the fanciful names in the early days 
are the Castle,* the Palace, f and the big house. $ 

Mrs. Madison's identification with the District is a 
half century. As she advanced in age, in epochs of ten 
years, the population, as in the schedule, increased. The 
increase at the conclusion of the half century was be- 
tween twelve and thirteen times the commencement. A 
population of forty thousand that was within the lines 
of Rock Creek westward and the Eastern Branch east- 
ward, and south of Massachusetts avenue and included 
the rather thickly populated Georgetown was unques- 
tionably well scattered or not, at least, congested in any 








1800 . . 

. . 3210 





1810 . . 

. . 8208 





1820 . . 

. .13247 





1830 . . 

. .18827 





1840 . . 

. .23364 





1850 . . 

. .40001 





In the last decade the population increased fifty per 
cent. It was a rapid increase compared with the ten 
year periods previous. Mrs. Madison had civic pride; 
she had a pride in the District. And because of the 

*Mrs. Abigail Adams and Mrs. Madison. 
fMrs. Seaton. 
JMrs. Smith. 

§The Establishment and Government of the District of Colum- 
bia. William Tindall. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

increase and improvement she was delighted and exult- 
ingly wrote to the lady in Georgetown : 

Let me persuade you to come soon my way in order 
that I may shew you the improvements diffused through- 
out a District which has hitherto crept lazily towards 

Exclusive of those mentioned in the narrative these 
entertained Mrs. Madison by dinner or other social at- 


Col. and Mrs. Charles 


Mr. and Mrs. Richard, 93 So. 4th 

St., Philadelphia, April 13, 



Com. and Mrs. John H. 


Mr. and Mrs. Alexander D., Miss 



Mr. and Mrs. John 


Mr. and Mrs. John McPherson 


Mr. and Mrs. Francis P. 


Mr. and Mrs. Alexandre de 


Mrs. E. S. 

Calderon de la Barca 

Senor Don A. 


Mr. and Mrs. William T. 


Mrs., Caroline Place. Georgetown 



Mr. and Mrs. John H. 

Carvalho Moreira 

Chev. F. J. de and Mme. 


Mr. and Mrs. Richard S. 


Mrs. William B. 


Mrs. L. Henry 


Mr. and Mrs. George M. and 

Misses Dallas 


Mr. and Mrs. Asbury 


Mrs. John 


Mr. and Mrs. James 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 


Col. and Mrs. C. K. 


Mr. and Mrs. Samuel L. 


Mr. and Mrs. Joseph 


Mrs. Esther W. 


Gen. and Mrs. Archibald 


Mrs. Charles (Ann S.) 

Mrs. Clement 


Mr. and Mrs. Alexander 


Gen. and Mrs. Thomas S. 


Mr. and Mrs. Henry 


Lieut, and Mrs. Roger 


Gen. and Mrs. Alexander 


Mr. and Mrs. John Young 


Mrs. Richard K. 


Com. and Mrs. Charles, Misses 



Mrs. Theodore 


Mr. and Mrs. Moses 


Mr. and Mrs. James K., Miss 



Mrs. Levi 


Mr. and Mrs. Stephen 


Mrs. Sophie W. 


Mr. and Mrs. Joel R. 


Mrs. George W. 


Mrs. Thomas 


Mr. and Mrs. James, Mount 

Hope, Georgetown Heights. 


Com. and Mrs. John 


Gen. and Mrs. Winfield S. 


Dr. Thomas 


Com. and Mrs. William B. 


Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L. 


Com. and Mrs. Robert F. 


Gen. and Mrs. Nathan 

Van Rensselaer 

Elizabeth R. 

Van Zandt 

N. H. 


Mr. and Mrs. Robert J. 


Lieut. Lewis, Miss Warrington 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 


Lieut, and Mrs. 


Mr. and Mrs. John 


Mr. and Mrs. C. A. 


Mr. and Mrs. William 


Mr. Robert C. 


Mr. and Mrs. Levi 


Mr. and Mrs. W. 

Mrs. Madison kept tab of the visits received by her 
and reciprocated the courtesy. Her acquaintance were 
of the first citizens; however, she socially recognized 
worth even if it had not the credentials of fashion, for- 
tune or position. She was punctilious in the observance 
of social obligations and from the sincerity of goodwill 
endeavored to escape the oversight of any one even the 
least known. And she made the memorandum : 

M rs Watmough (enquire the names & residence of 
the party introduced by her.) 

There is a complete record of Mrs. Madison's visiting 
itinerary for two weeks — January — February, 1845. 
She visited thirty places, some days, and, of course, met 
more than that number of people. She systemed the 
localities so as to save time and travel. 

The painting is almost the natural man. 

— Shakespeare. 

We are indebted for the reproduction of Mrs. Madison 
by Gilbert Stuart to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine 
Arts; Mr. and Mrs. James Madison by T. C. Liebers to 
Miss Mary M. McGuire; Mrs. Thomas Law by Gilbert 
Stuart to Mrs. Charles T. A. McCormick ; Anthony Mor- 
ris by James Peak to Effingham B. Morris; Dr. and Mrs. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

William Thornton by Gilbert Stuart to Mrs. Sterling 
Murray; Marcia Burnes by James Peale to the Corcoran 
Gallery of Art; Mrs. John P. Van Ness by C. B. King 
to the Washington City Orphan Asylum; Mrs. Madison 
by Fleming to Mrs. Mary E. Craig; Mrs. Madison by 
W. S. Elwell to Admiral Seaton Schroeder; Mrs. Rich- 
ard Bland Lee to Mrs. Fannie W. Reading; and of Mrs. 
Mary E. Craig to herself. 

I cannot but remark a kind of respect, perhaps un- 
consciously, paid to this great man by his biographers; 
every house in which he resided is historically mentioned, 
as if it were an injury to neglect naming any place that 
he honored by his presence. 

Dr. Samuel Johnson — Life of Milton. 

For photographs of mansions we are indebted for 
Scotchtown to Mrs. Walton Redd; Harewood (interior) 
to Mrs. A. Francis Millot; Sydney to Miss Elizabeth 
Ross and Mrs. J. Ross Thomson; Carroll Row to Wil- 
helmus B. Bryan, Esq. ; Dolly Madison House to the 
Cosmos Club, and Kalorama to Mrs. Corra Bacon- 
Foster; Rosedale to Mrs. Louisa Key Norton. 

For letters not heretofore published we are indebted 
to Mrs. John Bratton Erwin (Miss Louise Forrest 
Nourse), and Mrs. Mary C. Coffey; to Mrs. 
Henry L. Mann; to the Library of Congress, the Public 
Library, Boston, the New York Public Library, the 
Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and the Haverford 
College, of Haverford, Pennsylvania. We should make 
particular mention of the all-time courtesy of the Manu- 
script Division, chief and corps of the Library of 

Appleton Prentiss Clark Griffin, Chief Assistant Li- 
brarian of the Library of Congress, of all the bookmen, 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

none more versed, has given us the full helpfulness of 
his knowledge. 

We have as yet in our quest for reminiscence found 
aught but kind thought of Mrs. Madison except in one 
instance and that an inherited dislike because an ancestral 
mistress had done something not strictly above reproach 
in other castes than the ultra-fashionable and it being re- 
ported to Mrs. Madison and her opinion requested, com- 
plied, "She is a hussy." 

Any sketch of Mrs. Madison will from the repetition 
have a familiar ring. A sketch will be a rearranging of 
incidents and rearranging of conclusions. The life has 
been well and rather completely written ; and the sources 
of research have been nearly to the limit explored. We 
have tried for biographic brevity without panegyric ad- 
jective. To the charge there is more of quotation than 
originality we admit that we have left what others have 
said as they said it, as better said than we can say it. It 
is said that nobody ever published a second book because 
of the results of the first. We are hopeful this presenta- 
tion of Dolly Madison will be generally thought in some 
measure worthy of her; anyhow the labor has already 
had the profit of pleasure. 

We have adhered to the promise made in the outset 
not to amplify the letters of Mrs. Madison. She was a 
talented letter writer, that must be apparent to all, and 
that the talent had unusual diversity. From the letters, 
those from her and those to her, from the events of her 
life made authentic by current account, her character 
can be read as plainly as if printed in boldest type in 
brightest gold on darkest background. The great sta- 
tions she honored and her greatness in every station of 
life and her greatness in every exigency of life make her 
of the greatest of American women. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison's correspondence was with those char- 
acters who had the merit of worth. She had thoughts 
well expressed and carefully penned. Not often were 
any of her letters carelessly written; none, in "tortured 
or twisted penmanship." Illegibility was not an item of 
her greatness. No letter of hers would have gone by 
the route of the Dead Letter Office even had there then 
been that department to solve the puzzles. 

Mrs. Madison was not without hostility and particu- 
larly in Virginia during Mr. Madison's first Presidential 
campaign. At a distance she was less formidable than 
in personal encounter for the inevitable snuffbox was a 
weapon of conquest. 

The magic influence which the tender of her snuff- 
box exerted, won from the most obdurate a relaxation 
from hostility ; for none partook of its contents, so 
graciously and kindly offered, and retained a feeling 
inimical to its owner.* 

Mrs. Madison, of course, knew that the snuffbox is 
the Portuguese olive branch and that the production of 
it is a conciliatory offer and that the to-be-concilated is 
to insert thumb and finger in it, although he detests the 
dust, if he consents to peace. 

Mrs. Madison, like Mr. Clay, was very fond of snuff. 
The lady offered him a pinch from her splendid box 
which the gentleman accepteci^with the grace_.jfor~ which 
he was distinguished. Mrs. Madison ^ufher hand in 
her pocket, and pulling out a bandanna handkerchief, 
said, "Mr. Clay, this is for rough work," at the same 
time applying it at the proper place; "and this," pro- 
ducing a fine lace handkerchief from another pocket, 
"is my polisher."f 

*Illustrious Cltaracters. Mrs. Madison. Thomas Wyatt, A.M. 
^Recollections of Men and Things of Washington During the 
Third of a Century. L. A. Gobright. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison in advanced age was so addicted to 
snuff that as remembered by an acquaintance, a woman, 
the bare tips of her mittened hand were tobacco stained. 

We have not been able to find the faults of Dolly' 
Madison. That the heroine of ouar book was without 
faults, minor ones to be sure, we do not claim. We 
acknowledge that we do not find them — to confess them 
and have full credit for the excellences. For it is Doctor 
Johnson's standard that 

he that claims, either in himself or for another, the 
honours of perfection, will surely injure the reputation 
which he designs to assist; 

however, Dolly's foundation is too firm to be unsteadied 
by any sketchist. 

Mrs. Madison, concurrently would write to her mother, 
"thee and thine," and to her husband, "you and yours"; 
she would address him as "My darling husband"; she 
would refer to him to the kindred as Madison, to the 
public as Mr. Madison. She could gratify the epicurean 
appetite of the foreigners and so assure the doubting 
Quakeresses to call forth their benediction. This is 
not duplicity; this is "even as I please all men in all 

Theodore Roosevelt in the History of Literature says 
"the great historian, if the facts permit him, will put 
before us the men and women as they actually lived, so 
that we shall recognize them for what they were — living 
beings." And, in the reconstruction of such an historian, 
we have attempted to have Mrs. Madison live on paper 
as she lived in life. And, her adherence to truth was 
in that degree, she might quote : 

I pray you in your letters. 

5JC 3|C 3|E 

Speak of me as I am. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The detail of Mrs. Madison's biographic life we think 
sufficient for a "Flemish picture"; and if with the de- 
tail we had the ability to employ the beautiful colors 
appropriate to the portrayal of the subject, the picture 
would be a Meissonier. 

Mrs. Madison gave respect to all entitled to respect. 
The rich and poor, exalted and humble, white and black, 
had kindly recognition. If we do not call to mind her 
solicitude for the aged; she seemed more attentive to 
children and felt sympathetically to them great, their 
little joys and griefs. Among Mrs. Trist's "childish 
recollections is her 'running away with us,' as she play- 
fully expressed it, when she took us away with her in 
her carriage, to give us a drive and then take us home 
with her to play with two of her nieces near our ages, and 
lunch on cranberry tarts." Her attentiveness to age has 
striking illustration in that incident of the venerable Mrs. 
Madison, her husband's mother, who approaching the 
century line, leaned, although lightly, on support — point- 
ing to Mrs. Madison, junior, and saying — "She is my 
mother now." She was well informed. She may have 
read much. Mrs. Seaton is authority that she did and 
books of educational uplift. But Mr. Preston noticing 
she always entered the drawing-room with a volume in 
her hand, said, "Still you have time to read." "Oh, no," 
said she, "not a word; I have this book in my hand — a 
very fine copy of Don Quixote — to have something not 
ungraceful to say, and, if need be to supply a word of 
talk." Mrs. Madison read sentiment rather than slaugh- 
ter. To her niece, Dolly, March 10, 1830: 

By the bye, do you ever get hold of a clever novel, 
new or old, that you could send me? I bought Cooper's 
last, but did not care for it, because the story was so 
full of horrors. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Madison's day was before the day of agitation 
for advancement of women politically. What her align- 
ment would have been is useless to consider as it would 
be a guess without an answer. She was fully feminine. 
She liked jewels and finery; and she liked costumes of 
rich material, of creation, beautiful and striking, artis- 
tically. The dress of woman has elements of art as has 
painting. She was skillful in domestic direction. All 
moved easily, without confusion and without observable 
command. Her husband did not have added to his wor- 
ries the daily recital of housekeeping woes; there was 
no woeful recitals at all. The guest within the walls 
was always at home as at his own fireside and of the 
many with the attentions he received felt himself the * 
favored. She was up early in the morning before her 
guests were astir, her bundle of keys dangling from the 
waist, campaigning the details of the day; and to the 
guest every day was a new and different day during 
his guest-time. In every department she, herself, was 
an expert in execution, whether to cook, or to sew or to 
put into order, or anything, and what she could do, she 
could tell others how to do. Mrs. Madison had all the 
attributes of a prudent wife and "a prudent wife is from 
the Lord." And prudence conducts to felicity. 

Among the papers of Mrs. Madison are her grocers' 
pass-books and her pass-books with the booksellers. She 
evidently thought, as well as the body, the mind needs 
daily nourishment and for healthiness, variety. Her 
treasured papers consist of communications — business 
and friendly correspondence — and dainty notes, tendering 
her invitations, with fancifully laced edges, flowered and 
ribboned. This treasury has prescriptions to cure the 
ailments and recipes to please the palate. Of the latter 
is Mrs. Madison's recipe for 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Sponge Cake. 
One lb. flour, 
One dozen eggs, 
One and an half lbs. sugar, 
The juice of two lemons and the rind of three grated. 

Mrs. Madison was as far north as New York and south 
as North Carolina and not west of a narrow coast line. 
Contracted her life-territory was yet by association with 
those from everywhere she was cosmopolite. She says: 
"I was educated in Philadelphia." That education was 
enlarged by conversation and by her help to her student 
husband. She lived as appears in her girlhood on the 
plantation in Virginia and in the city of Philadelphia; 
in her womanhood, in that city, in the city of Washing- 
ton and on the plantation in Virginia, Montpellier. Her 
visits were to New York, to Annapolis, to Baltimore, to 
Richmond, to the White Sulphur Springs, Virginia, to 
be sure her life was spent within a small territory. 

Mrs. Madison was a miracle. She was the miracle 
that all the great in spirit are. Her presence when she 
had entered filled the room. The radiance of her moral 
beauty diffused cheer and dispelled gloom. All paid 
homage to her and in the doing but so did to the virtues 
of which she was an embodiment. They who were close 
by would have touched the hem of her garment in the 
thought that from her to them passed virtue. When 
she was there, everybody felt the occasion was more 
than ordinary and were inspired to appear to admirable 

Grace was in all her steps, heaven in her eye, 
In every gesture dignity and love. 

Milton : Paradise Lost. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

When she was present, everybody would be like her, 
and possess a portion of the ennobling attributes. Her 
smiles and sweetness were the sesame to every heart. 
Her sympathy for others which sincerely caused her to 
rejoice with the rejoicing and sorrow with the sorrow- 
ing was from a love — a love of others, in degree greater 
than for herself. She was a daughter of heaven for she 
loved them, if any there were, who loved her not. She 
saluted all likeunto the sun which rises on the good and 
evil and the rain which descends on the just and the 

Here's a sigh to those who love me, 
And a smile to those who hate. 
And whatever skies above me, 
Here's a heart for every fate. 

— Lord Byron to Tom Moore. 

Good begets good. She was always receiving; it was 
because she was always giving. And in her darkest 
days, she was lightening the hearts of others with choice 
keepsakes as others were striving to lighten her darkness 
with appropriate attentions, delicately bestowed. 

Selfishness is so strong that sensibility to other's for- 
tunes or misfortunes is weak. This selfishness is nigh 
universal. A mask for selfishness is in giving when re- 
ceiving, in bookkeeping debtor and creditor exactness. 
Selfishness may pay well, it seems to, in the possession 
of goods and chattels yet if good-will of others is a more 
valuable possession then unselfishness pays better. It 
is a lesson of Mrs. Madison's life. 

Dorothea was quickly changed to Dolly. The pet 
name stood as her real name. Some preferred to 
spell it, Dolley. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The date of death is given as 1768. The grand- 
niece who wrote Memoirs and Letters and others 
state it as 1772. We think the date as herein given 
more likely correct from various comparative circum- 
stances; and that the statement of Anne Royall made 
at the time of Mrs. Madison's death and with whom 
sh© was well acquainted entitled to credence. 

On the monument that marks her grave at Mont- 
pellier is carved: 







MAY 20, 1^68, 


JULY 8, 1849- 

Nature perennially decorates the grave. The 
glossy myrtle spreads over, and from it springs a 
woodbine which tenderly entwists around the slight 
shaft, and at the foot is a large boxwood. It is in a 
corner of the Madison burial enclosure and next to 
the tall monument to "Madison." The enclosure has 
the keeping of the Madison, the Conway and the Wil- 
lis remains. The wall is of brick and low; the gate 
is of iron and has a scroll, "Madison, 1720." 

Montpellier is the country-seat of William duPont, 
Esquire. The classic mansion sits far back from the 
old gates. Forward and near to the side of the man- 
sion is the summer house, a circle of columns. Rear- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ward and to the other side, the flower garden. Mont- 
pellier is preserved and protected; it has the perfection 
of that care which landscape gardening and abundant 
wealth can give. The ancient forest kings, mighty- 
bodied, huge-armed and heaven-reaching, stand ma- 
jestically. In the grove, back of the mansion, the 
rhododendron gives gayety. All about nature is as- 
sisted by artistic arrangement. 

The preservation of Montpellier creates a due of 
gratitude, and national, for with it is most closely as- 
sociated the memory of Madison, "the Father of the 
Constitution," and of "Dolly Madison, now famous as 
the most graceful and courtly hostess the White 
House ever had."* 

Dolly was a little Miss the day the liberty bell in 
the Philadelphia tower rang out for declared inde- 
pendence. She was a light-hearted girl when she 
heard the women at home with smiles pass along the 
rumors of Marion's and Sumter's successful attacks 
on Cornwallis's hosts of imported invaders and native 
allies. She was twelve when their looks were anxious 
at the report of the traitor Arnold's seizure at the city 
— the city of Richmond. Her coming to Philadelphia 
preceded two months the ringing of the liberty bell for 
decided independence. She saw the first and succes- 
sive steps of the new republic in the attempt to go 
alone. Surely she is a daughter of the American Rev- 
olution. She was the first lady when the second war 
with Great Britain was declared; she was the first 
lady at its close. Then Dolly Madison is a Daughter 
of the American Revolution and she is the eldest 
daughter of its confirmation. 

*Mrs. Frank Learned. 



JOHN PAYNE TODD, "Payne" was his mother's 
idol. He, her only son, was all of her contribution 
to the world's life. He was educated at a 
Catholic institution in Baltimore under the care of 
Madame Bonaparte. He was in looks, handsome; in 
manners, elegant. That of manliest beauty was he, see 
to be convinced, the miniature by Joseph Wood repro- 
duced. In society he moved with grace and talked with 
ease and excited the admiration of his girl cousins. 
When with the peace commission abroad he was called 
"the American Prince" and was courted by the nobility 
and in after years Mr. Clay derisively reminded him : 

Do you remember when you were with us in Russia 
that John Quincy Adams and the rest of us sat in the 
gallery, and apart from you, and watched you dance 
with the Princess, we being disbarred because we were 
not of the royalty. 

It is said that his French was more pure than his Eng- 
lish, and likely it was, for his many letters although 
plainly penned are not so plainly understood. He was 
self-willed and thoughtless. Knowing that his mother's 
partiality for his presence not only absented himself and 
unaccounted himself for long lengths of time but ne- 
glected to acknowledge her letters. Having written six 
or so without evoking a reply, she would write to the 
Postmaster to be sure that they had been delivered. He 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

may have resented the apron-string idea. He was dis- 
sipated. He drank to excess ; he ate in excess. His letters 
on business indicates he was querulous and suspicious. 
He caught the mulberry epidemic and imported the 
Frenchmen to manufacture the silk ere he planted the 
trees. He built on his plantation, Toddsbirth, nigh 
unto Montpellier, a Babel-like tower with ball room and 
state room. Around it, he set small buildings, one of 
them for his mother, with a window by which she could 
climb into the dining-room. He was, it is said, for a 
while to President Madison, private secretary. He was 
a candidate for Congress but his might-be constituents 
were too critical to give him sufficient votes. In late 
life he had less slender shapeliness and more globe-like- 
ness and suggested Falstaff and sac. In late life he 
lost the admiration of his kin. A cousin recalling him 
writes : 

As for my cousin, Payne Todd, my childish memories 
of him do not bear repeating. His manners were per- 
fectly Grandisonian, but I was a little afraid of him. 
Do not ask me why. 

To this writer, a relative refers to him as "the miser- 
able creature." His extravagance and erratic methods 
caused his mother great financial loss. The knowledge 
of these facts caused Congress in the second appropria- 
tion to create the safeguard of trusteeship. With all his 
faults, with all the weariness and worries he gave her, 
the mother never lost confidence in him and the hope 
that eventually he would redeem himself. He was not 
without, at times, manly ambition but revelry and re- 
verses made him unequal of accomplishment. Not all 
speak ill of him. A former generation has passed some 
kind things of him, more particularly in the line of cul- 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

ture. With generous impulse in his last will and testa- 
ment he gave freedom to his slaves for whom he had no 
further use and perhaps had all already sold. 

This belated notice appeared. Doily National Intel- 
ligencer. Tuesday, January 27, 1852: 

In this city, on the morning of the 17th instant, John 
Payne Todd, Esq., in the 61st year of his age. 

Mrs. Madison had all through her life family com- 
panionship, that is, a relative lived with, a sister or a 
niece. Her sister, Anna, lived continuously with her 
until the marriage. A niece, Dolly P. Madison Payne, 
lived with her* and on protracted visits, her nieces, Dolly 
and Mary Cutts. Finally came to abide until the end, 
Anna Payne,f a brother's daughter. Mrs. Madison took 
the niece into her affections as a daughter and accepted 
her as an adopted daughter. Miss Payne was the private 
secretary and so assisting that she of the house was all 
the daughters, and all the brothers, too. 

Harriet Taylor Upton of her quotes : 

Anna Payne was not handsome, her features being 
irregular; but her devotion to Mrs. Madison entitles her 
to the best rewards of Heaven. She was one of the 
few purely unselfish persons whom one may meet in 
a life-time. 

After Mrs. Madison's death she was received into the 
home of Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Miller. She married Dr. 
James H. Causten, jr. 

*This memorandum is in the handwriting of John Payne Todd: 
She has a sister named Dolly P. Madison who had probably been 
more with Mrs. Madison during the life time of her husband and 
until near the time of the departure of J. or J. C. Payne for the 
western country. 



Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Virginia Miller says : 

One of the interesting happenings at home on E street 
was the marriage of Miss Anna Payne, Mrs. Madison's 
niece, to whom my parents had offered a home after 
Mrs. Madison's death. While with us she met and 
married Dr. J. H. Causten, one of my father's favorite 
pupils. The wedding took place in our parlor, Rev. Dr. 
Pyne, of St. John's Church, officiating. My grand- 
father, General Jones, as Mrs. Madison's friend and 
legal adviser, gave the bride away. I have the 
note in which Miss Payne asked him to add this to the 
many kindnesses rendered her aunt and herself.* 

Henry Clay entered into the joy of the occasion and 
indicated a willingness not only to kiss the happy bride 
but any of the pretty girls. f 

Annie Payne was the daughter of John C. and Clara 
W. Payne. She was born in Orange county, Virginia; 
and died November 9, 1852. 

Mary Estelle Elizabeth Cutts, between whom and Mrs. 
Madison was a lively correspondence in the former's 
youthful days and whenever apart throughout, died at 
the residence of her cousin, Judge Allen, in Botetourt 
county, Virginia. She was then in her forty-second year. 
She was an amateur artist and made portraits in water 
colors a special evidence of her talents. 

My dear Aunt 

As it is your birthday I send you the long desired 
Cupid & hope you will prize it as much for the copyists' 
sake as for the design — which will be more than most 
people do — who generally solicit my drawings without 
interest or care for my fair self. 

*Dr. Thomas Miller and His Times. Virginia Miller. 
fMrs. Fanny W. Reading was a guest. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

I hope twenty more birthdays may dawn upon you 
beautifully as this. 

Your affectionate niece 


Mrs. Frances Dandridge Henley Lear was the niece of 
Mrs. Washington and the widow of Colonel Lear. She 
was his third Mrs. Lear.* The Colonel was the tutor to 
Mrs. Washington's grandchildren with his other Wash- 
ington capacities. On Tuesday morning, December 2, 
1856, she passed away. At her late residence, 2136 
Pennsylvania avenue, where she lived so long, on Thurs- 
day, the mourners gathered. The papers had nothing of 
the sad service and of the lovely life, because, everybody 
knew "Aunt Fanny," and everything about her. She 
retained throughout amiable disposition ; and she retained 
the fashions of her youth and in age appeared old- 

That so many of the old residents of Washington dis- 
tinctly remember Mrs. Lear and Mrs. Madison, notwith- 
standing the improbability or contradiction of their look 
of years, was the habit of the mothers to take along the 
daughters, although yet little pinafore Misses, on their 
social rounds. The writer has interviewed one man and 
six women who have talked with Mrs. Madison and have 
vivid recollections of her. The letters of Mrs. Lear to 
Mrs. Madison are in a small part herein published. Mrs. 
Lear wrote wkh a quill and stubbed at that.f 

Of Tobias Lear "the private secretary and familiar 
friend" of General Washington, that which is mortal, 
has a "place of abode in the City of Silence,"$ otherwise 

*First wife, Mary Long of Portsmouth, N. H. ; second wife, 
Fanny Washington. 

t Personal Recollections of Early Washington and a Sketch of the 
Life of Captain William Easby. Wilhelmina M. Easby-Smith. 

JA story has since been added. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

the Congressional Cemetery, and with him in the abode 
are his son, Benjamin Lincoln, and his daughter, Maria, 
and Frances D., his widow. The latter was born No- 
vember 17, 1779, and survived her husband an even 
forty years. 

Elizabeth Schuyler married the illustrious Alexan- 
der Hamilton, December 9, 1780, then a lieutenant-col- 
onel and an aide on Washington's staff. She was indus- 
trious and intellectual. She was helpful to the founder 
of the financial system by her work and by her wisdom. 
In latter life she lived in the city of Washington. And 
there completed the compilation of the Hamilton manu- 
scripts which were acquired by the government. And 
there shared with Mrs. Madison social supremacy. At 
her residence — (N. S.) H. between Thirteenth and Four- 
teenth streets N.W. — the most honorable had an impres- 
sion of honor received in beholding her heartiness and 
happiness. Her activity in the race with age never 
flagged. Her active mind gave little chance for physical 
rust. Her picture in youth — twenty-seven — is by James 
Earle and reproduced in Appleton's Cyclopedia of Amer- 
ican Biography; and in age — ninety-four — by Charles 
Martin and reproduced in Social Life in the Early Re- 

Mrs. Hamilton was in Washington in Van Buren's 
administration, and said to be in Jackson's and several 
letters connect her with the social happenings during 

In The Story of the White House is a letter quoted 
from which is: 

At a State dinner we met Mrs. Alexander Hamilton 
whom Mr. Fillmore escorted to the table — a plain little 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

old lady and very plainly dressed. The dinner con- 
sisted of nine courses, and we sat from seven to nine. 

In Social Life in the Early Republic a letter by Julia 
F. Miller is quoted: 

She was ninety-two years of age at this time and died 
two years after. She was a tiny little woman, most 
active and interesting, although she could never have 
been pretty in her life. She kept me by her side, hold- 
ing me by the hand, telling me of the things most inter- 
esting to me. How she knew Washington (with whom 
she was a great favorite), and Lafayette, who was "a 
most interesting young man." How they were often 
at the house of her father. Gen. Philip Schuyler. How 
when she was a child she was free of the Washington 
residence, and if there was company Mrs. Washington 
would dress her up in something pretty and make her 
stay to dinner, even if she came uninvited, so that she 
was presentable at table. She showed me the Stuart 
portrait of Washington, painted for her, and for which 
he sat; the old Schuyler chairs and tiny mirrors; most 
interesting to me. This tiny dot of a woman and of 
such a great age, happened to think of something in 
her room which she wanted to show Abbie. Her 
daughter, Mrs. Hamilton Holley, offered to get it for 
her. "Sit down, child, don't you think I can get it 
myself?" and up she went and got it, whatever it was. 

Mrs. Hamilton was born in Albany, New York, Au- 
gust 9, 1757. In Washington she died at four in the 
morning of Thursday, November 9. 1854. The sub- 
traction was evenly ninety-seven years and three months. 

Editorially the Daily National Intelligencer says : 

It was this great man who sought and won Elizabeth 
Schuyler, and that fact is enough to show her worth. 
But, had she been no more than an ordinarily endowed 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

woman, it would have been impossible to have passed 
twenty-four years of happy intercourse with such a hus- 
band without having her mind richly stored from the 
treasures of his mighty intellect; and those who knew 
her even in her declining years will be ready to testify 
that she was a rare example of the wisdom taught by 
observant experience, and a bright example of all wom- 
anly graces. Her benevolence was most exemplary, and 
one of the finest manifestations of it was her habit to 
within a few months of her death, of making occasional 
visits to all the schools of the city, and she never did 
so without imparting some moral lesson which showed 
how deep an interest she took in the welfare of the 
countrv which her husband had contributed so largelv 
to make free and independent. 

Richard Bland Lee was a Representative from Vir- 
ginia, March 4, 1789, to March 3, 1795. He voted "aye" 
for locating the seat of government on the Potomac. 
He located in Washington. He was judge of the Or- 
phans' Court, and was of the commission to re-erect the 
public buildings. He lived in the Law Mansion at the 
N. E. corner of Sixth and M streets S.W. He died in 
Washington, March 12, 1827. 

Says Mrs. Fannie W. Reading: "There were four 
great women — Mrs. Hamilton, Mrs. Madison, Mrs. Lear 
and Mrs. Lee." Mrs. Reading is the granddaughter of 
the Mrs. Lee. 

Mrs. Lee when a maid was Miss Elizabeth Collins.* 
She lived in Philadelphia ; she was born there, February 
8, 1768. She was the confidante of Dolly Payne, when 
that was Dolly's name ; of Dolly Todd, when that was the 
name: and of Dolly Madison, the finality name. When 
Dolly was lovely as bride in the Quaker Meeting-house, 
Elizabeth Collins was lovely as bridesmaid. Not so long 
after she took her turn as the principal in the scene of 

*Married, 1794. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

loveliness; it was when she married the handsome Con- 
gressman from Virginia, Mr. Lee. It was to this con- 
fidante that Dolly excitedly wrote : 

Thou must come to me, — Aaron Burr says that the 
great little Madison has asked to be brought to see me 
this evening. 

It was to Mrs. Lee she wrote from Harewood, the 
last time as Mrs. Todd and the first time as Mrs. Madi- 
son. In every epoch of Mrs. Madison's life, Mrs. Lee 
was nigh to felicitate or to sympathize. When she was 
parting for the unknown world, Mrs. Lee was close to 
cheer. Mrs. Lee lived on and on and was a nonoge- 
narian. She died the morning of Thursday, June 24, 
1858. Hers was a "long life of distinction and useful- 
ness.'" The funeral service was at her late residence, 468 
Sixth street N.W., new numbering 416. 

Anthony Morris, always sprightly in spirit, was always 
sprightly in step. From the Highlands he would walk 
to Georgetown — it is not a long distance for a good 
walker — to exercise and to learn in the coffee houses 
what was the excitement of the day. Something dis- 
agreed with him and for two weeks or about that time 
he was indisposed. One morning he went to his chamber 
and closed the door. He smoothly shaved and carefully 
dressed. Then he on the bed reclined himself in easy 
attitude and closed his eyes. They called him; he re- 
plied not. He had closed his eyes never to open them 
again. He had approached his 

Like one that wraps the drapery of his couch 
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams, 

— Bryant : Thmiatopsis. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

It was Rev. Henry Ward Beecher who said that a 
strong man makes a business of it and dies quickly. 

Mr. Morris died November 18, 1860. What there is 
of his frame of mortality is beside what there is of gentle 
Phoebe at the Bolton farm. 

Mrs. Thornton died Tuesday evening, August 16, 
1865. She was in her ninetieth year. The services were 
held at her late residence, 303 G between Thirteenth and 
Fourteenth streets. 

In the Daily National Intelligencer appeared August 
22, 1865: 

The Late Anna M. Thornton. 

The genius, extensive literary and scien- 
tific attainments, agreeable manners, and personal worth 
of Dr. Thornton united in the varied accomplishments 
of Mrs. Thornton placed them at once in the foremost 
rank of the literary, fashionable, and even political so- 
ciety of the Metropolis. She was the last of that circle. 
After the passing away of these her associates, Mrs. 
T. retired into great privacy of life, devoting her time 
to religious reading and gentle deeds of piety, giving of 
her little to benevolent objects, and contributing as far 
as she could to the comforts of others, in all things 
observing the strictest justice, a sense of which was one 
of her characteristics. Practicing all the virtues, she 
lived to be surrounded by the descendants of her early 
associates, and she died the object of their respect, sym- 
pathy and veneration. 

The Rochambeau, 

February 13, 1914. 
Dear Sir: 

In reply to your inquiry about Mrs. Thornton's 
appearance I would say she was quite small, whether that 
was due to her being an old lady or not I do not know, 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

but as I remember her she was very short. She 
always wore dainty white caps and the hair which 
showed in front was brown. She had beautiful big 
brown eyes, keen yet soft, wore a simple black dress 
with a little white shawl thrown round her shoulders. 
Her hearing, eyesight, mind and memory were good 
to the very last and she was always alive and inter- 
ested in whatever concerned her friends and in the 
current news of the day. Mr. Gaillard Hunt at the 
Washington Club a week or so ago spoke of what a 
wonderful man Dr. Thornton was and yet how little 
known. He 'spoke of his having been really the in- 
ventor of the steamboat, though Fulton got the 
credit, through getting hold of Dr. Thornton's draw- 
ings. His talk carried me back to the many times I 
had heard Mrs. Thornton speak of her husband hav- 
ing invented the first steamboat and her grief over 
the little recognition his talents and services had ever 
obtained and it seemed so strange now to hear honour 
paid to him and his wonderful genius and influence 
proclaimed when all who were so deeply interested 
were gone and it has made me think a great deal of 
Mrs. Thornton lately. So your question came in 
strangely. I wish I could give you an idea of her as 
I see her in my mind's eye — sitting in her arm chair 
by the window in her parlour — a little table with her 
glasses, books and papers at her right hand ; her feet 
resting on a little footstool, her room a veritable 
museum of beautiful old things, from the tapestry- 
covered chairs to the paintings and bric-a-brac around 
in great profusion; and she, so simple-hearted and 
sweet. My mother was a great comfort to her and 
so tenderly interested in all that concerned her and 
tried to encourage her to think that some day, justice 
would be done. 

Very truly yours, 

Virginia Miller. 

Mrs. Brodeau in Philadelphia established a select 
school for girls under the encouragement of Bishop White 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

and others. In Philadelphia, Dr. Thornton met Miss 
Anna Maria, the daughter; and they married, October 
13, 1790. 

Rose Adele Cutts — the mention of the name to those 
who have her in the memory brings forth the exclama- 
tion — "The beautiful Addie Cutts!" And then to the 
exclamation comes the supplement — she was beautiful 
in character. 

On the return of James Madison Cutts and his bride 
from Montpellier she, the bride, was installed the mis- 
tress of the home of Richard Cutts. There — the Dolly 
Madison House — was born Rose Adele, December 27, 

At a children's fancy ball in the Executive Mansion, 
as a flower girl, she appeared first formally. She was 

Virginia Tatnall Peacock says :f 

At the time of her death her great-niece was fourteen 
years old, and already possessed a beauty of the purest 
Greek type, whose stateliness increased as she advanced 
towards womanhood. The faultless outline of her pro- 
file, the shapeliness of her head, her large, dark eyes, 
her chestnut hair that showed glints of a golden hue in 
the sunshine, the creamy tone of her skin, the perfect 
proportion and development of her tall figure, all com- 
bined to make the rare beauty of a personality whose 
charm was augmented twofold by her own unconscious- 
ness of its rich possession. 

Virginia Miller says: 

Among those I remember seeing pass by each day 
were Madison Cutts and his beautiful daughter. * * * 
One of the' interesting happenings at home on E street 

* Famous American Belles of the Nineteenth Century. 
~\Dr. Thomas Miller and His Times. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

was the marriage of Miss Payne, Mrs. Madison's niece, 
to whom my parents, had offered a home after Mrs. Mad- 
ison's death. * * * Miss Addie Cutts was brides- 
maid, and we children thought her the most beautifnl 
of mortals. 

Miss Cutts and Stephen A. Douglas, "the little giant," 
married, November 20, 1856. She accompanied her hus- 
band on the campaigning; and in the memorable tour of 
debate, she and Mr. Lincoln, her husband's foe and 
friend, respectively, politically and personally, became at- 

Mr. Douglas built a substantial residence in the city 
of Washington, on Douglas Place, the northeast corner 
of I street and New Jersey avenue. He died June 3, 

Mrs. Douglas and General Robert Williams married 
January, 1866. He was handsome in person and gal- 
lant in arms. He was a scion of the Williams family 
of Culpeper county, Virginia. 

Jessie Benton Fremont says: 

Seeing her again but a few years ago, her freshness 
and added charm surprised me into asking her how she 
had kept the clock back? and suffered no change only 
increase of beauty, "Because I am happy, I suppose," 
she laughed with a lovely blush. 

Mrs. Williams died January 26, 1899. 

Mrs. Craig, the grandniece of Mrs. Madison, was the 
hostess at a Dolly Madison tea, 1912. in Washington, 
D. C, and impersonated the famous of the family with 
turban and dress a la directoire, and well she might for 
she has the same features and figure, the statistics of 
stature being five feet six. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

MONDAY. MAY 20. 1912 

THE one hundred and forty-fourth anniversary of 
Dolly Payne Madison's birth 

The breakfast was given by the daughters 
of Democracy. Eligible to it were the women folks of 
the Democratic Senators and Congressmen, of Demo- 
crats of the States and the city — and the Madison 

The idea originated with Mrs. Robert C. VVick- 
liffe, wife of a Louisiana Representative, and broached 
at a luncheon she gave in honor of Mrs. Champ Clark. 
And in the formulation and forwarding of the affair 
Mrs. Clark, Mrs. Henry D. Clayton, wife of the Alabama 
Representative, and Mrs. Oscar W. Underwood, wife 
of the Alabama Representative, had the major part. 

The breakfast was at Rauscher's, and one o'clock, 
daylight, the hour of beginning. Four hundred were 
the guests, all in handsome headgear. Dolly alone, in 
the frame, was without not even a turban. The por- 
trait was the product of Prof. Eliphalet F. Andrews, 
and was festooned in Southern smilax ; and the guest 
room was brightened with American beauties and 
other horticultural beauties. 

Mrs. Clayton, as chairman of the Executive Com- 
mittee, made the address of welcome; and Mrs. Wick- 
liffe introduced the toastmistress. Mrs. Champ Clark 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

was the toastmistress and the toasts and they who 
responded thereto were : 

Dolly Madison Mrs. Wm. Jennings Bryan 

"Popular, brave, tolerant." 

James Madison Mrs. Albert S. Burleson 

"Man is but half without a woman." 

Dolly Madison's Snuff-Box .... Mrs. S. W. Ralston 

"You are aware that she snuffs, but in her 
hands the snuff-box becomes only a gracious 
implement with which to charm." 

Women of the White House. Mrs. Norman E. Mack 

"Be to her virtues very kind." 

Women of the Cabinet Mrs. Judson Harmon 

"The best example is acquired from the noblest in station." 

The Congressman's Wife Mrs. T. M. Owen 

"Be that you are, that is a woman." 

Thomas Jefferson, Friend of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Martin W. Littleton 

"I have professed thee my friend and I confess me knit to thy 

The Equal Importance of Women with Men in the 

Economic Life of the Nation 

Mrs. Henry T. Rainey 

Peers in intellectuality proved the wives to be of their 
notable husbands. 


Mrs. Henry D. Clayton Mrs. Edward T. Taylor 

Mrs. John Sharp Williams Mrs. Albert S. Burleson 

Mrs. John W. Davis Mrs. William A. Cullop 

Mrs. Perry Belmont Mrs. William G. Brown 


Mrs. Willis J. Abbott Mrs. Charles C. Carlin 

Mrs. Timothy T. Ansberry Mrs. George E. Chamberlain 

Mrs. Steven B. Ayres Mrs. Ben Cravens 

Mrs. John H. Bankhead Mrs. James M. Curley 

Mrs. Jack Beall Mrs. S Hubert Dent, Jr. 

Mrs. William P. Borland Mrs. Matthew R. Denver 

Mrs. William G. Brantley Mrs. Lincoln Dixon 

Mrs. Nathan P. Bryan Mrs. Frank E. Doremus 

Mrs. Joseph W. Bryns Mrs. F. R. Dorr 

Mrs. James C. Cantrill Miss Isabel Lawrence Dupre 

Mrs. Robert J. Bulkley Mrs. Scott Ferbis 

Mrs. Ezekiel S. Chandler. 1r Mrs. David E. Finley 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Mrs. Duncan U. Fletcher Mrs. 

Mrs. Finis J. Garrett Mrs. 

Mrs. Henry George, Jr. Mrs. 

Mrs. Green Clay Goodloe Mrs. 

Mrs. Thomas P. Gore Mrs. 

Mrs. James M. Graham Mrs. 

Mrs. Curtis H. Gregg Mrs. 

Mrs. Rufus Hardy Mrs. 

Mrs. Carl Hayden Mrs. 

Mrs. J. Thomas Heflin Mrs. 

Mrs. Gilbert M. Hitchcock Mrs. 

Mrs. Ben Johnson Mrs. 

Mrs. Joseph F. Johnson Mrs. 

Mrs. William A. Jones Mrs. 

Mrs. Eugene F. Kin read Mrs. 

Mrs. Thomas F. Konop Mrs. 

Mrs. Gordon Lee Mrs. 

Mrs. Asbury F. Lever Mrs. 

Mrs. Martin W. Littleton Mrs. 

Mrs. J. Charles Ltnthicum Mrs. 

Mrs. James T. Lloyd Mrs. 

Mrs. Charles C. McChord Mrs. 

Mrs. James E. Martine Mrs. 

Mrs. Ella H. Micou Mrs. 

Mrs. Henry L. Myers Mrs. 

Mrs. George A. Neeley Mrs. 

Mrs. James A. O'Gorman Mrs. 

William A. Oldfield 
George F. O'Shaunessy 
Robert L. Owen 
Robert N. Page 
Thomas H. Paynter 
A. Mitchell Palmer 
Andrew J. Peters 
Atlek Pomerene 
John E. Raker 
Joseph E. Ransdell 
Thomas L. Reilly 
Joseph J. Russell 
Dorsey W. Shakleford 
William G. Sharp 
Isaac R. Sherwood 
Thetus W. Sims 
Charles B. Smith 
Hoke Smith 
John H. Stephens 
William J. Stone 
Claude A. Swanson 
Edwin F. Sweet 
Edward T. Taylor 
South Trimble 
Clarence W. Watson 
Robert C. Wickliffe 
William B. Wilson 



William Jennings Bryan Mrs. 

Perry Belmont Mrs. 

Albert S. Burleson Mrs. 

Champ Clark Mrs. 

William A. Cullop Mrs. 

George E. Chamberlain Mrs. 

Henry D. Clayton Mrs. 

Stanley H. Dent, Jr. Mrs. 

Eugene N. Foss Mrs. 

Thomas P. Gore Mrs. 

Judson Harmon Mrs. 

Ben Johnson Mrs. 
Martin W. Littleton 

Norman E. Mack 
Henry L. Myers 
William O. Owen 
John E. Raker 
Henry T. Rainey 
S. W. Ralston 
William G. Sharp 
William J. Stone 
Edward T. Taylor 
Oscar W. Underwood 
Robert C. Wickliffe 
Tohn Sharp Willtams 


Miss Marie McM. Brown Mrs. 

Mrs. Mary E. Craig Mrs. 

Mrs. Pearl T. Ellis Miss 

Miss M. Gouverneur Mrs. 

Mrs. Randall Hoes Mrs. 

Mrs. W. C. Johnson Mrs. 

Mrs. Harmon Miller Mrs. 

Miss V. G. Miller Mrs. 

William O. Owen 
R. A. Peter 

Alex. Randall 
S. S. Rodgers 
Jerry C. South 
M. C. Taylor 
Tyler Wilson 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

The souvenir is a little volume, prettily produced, with 
Dolly's portrait as a frontispiece. It contains a bio- 
graphical sketch of Mrs. Madison by Miss Roberta Brad- 
shaw, the committees, biographies of the guests of honor, 
the menu, the musical numbers and the speaking parts 
together with a directory. 

The directory of the wives of Democratic members 
of the Senate and the House of Representatives in the 
62d Congress together with other data associated with the 
memorable occasion was compiled at the suggestion of 
Mrs. Champ Clark ; and it was appropriately dedicated 
to her. The credit of this creditable history is to Miss 
Bradshaw, as press agent, Miss Elizabeth Poe, as pub- 
lishing director, and Mrs. Henry T. Rainey, as editor. 

Another souvenir was a replica in silver of Mrs. Madi- 
son's snuffbox with a bas relief of her head after the 
Andrews creation. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

2 Thomas 


From the Cutts Genealogy : 

Richard Cutts married Anna Payne. 
Children : 
1 James Madison b. July 29, '05. Saco, 


m. Ellen Elizabeth Neale 
(d. Feby. 16, 1897) 

d. May 11, 1863, Washing- 
ton, D. C. 

b. Dec. 1, '06. 

m. Hannah H. Irvine, De- 
cember, 1833. 

d. Sept. 2, '38. Fort Jesup, 

b. Aug. 7, '08 

Lost at sea. 

b. January 21, '10. 

d. October '15 

b. July 13, 11. Maine. 

d. December 13, '38. Wash- 
ington, D. C. 
Mary Estelle Elizabeth b. Sept. 16, '14. Wash- 
ington, D. C. 

d. July 14, '56. Virginia. 
Richard Dominicus b. Sept. 21, '17. 

m. Martha Jefferson Hack- 
ley, (d. Feby. 17, 

d. Dec. 13, '83. 



Walter Coles 


Dolly Payne Madison 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 


I John Todd Junior of the City Philadelphia being of 
sound and disposing Mind and Memory Do make and 
publish my last Will and Testament in manner following" 
to wit First I direct my just Debts and Funeral Ex- 
pences to be paid and satisfied Item. 

I Give and devise all my Estate real and personal to 
the Dear Wife of my Bosom and first and only 
Woman upon whom my all and only affections were 
placed, Dolly Payne Todd her Heirs and Assigns for- 
ever trusting that as she has proved an Amiable and 
Affectionate Wife to her John, she will prove and Af- 
fectionate Mother to my little Payne and the sweet Babe 
with which she is now ensient. My last Prayer is may 
she Educate him in the Ways of Honesty tho' he may 
be obliged to beg his Bread remembering that will be 
better to him than a name and Riches. Having a great 
Opinion of the integrity and honourable conduct of 
Edward Burd and Edward Tilghman Esquires my dy- 
ing request is that they will give such advice and Assist- 
ance to my dear Wife as they shall think prudent with 
respect to the Management and disposal of my very 
small Estate and the settling of my unfinished legal busi- 
ness. I appoint my dear Wife Executrix of this my 

Witness my hand and seal this second day of July in 
the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and 
ninety three. John Todd Jun r (Seal.) 

Probated November 21, 1793. 

Cutts burial plot is in Oak Hill Cemetery, District of Columbia. 

Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 


In the name of God, Amen. 

I, Dolly Madison, widow of the late James Madison 
of Virginia, being of sound & disposing mind and mem- 
ory but feeble in body having in view the uncertainty 
of life & the rapid approach of death do make publish 
and declare the following to be my last will and testa- 

That is to say 

I hereby give & bequeath to my dear son John Payne 
Todd the sum of ten thousand dollars being one half 
of the sum appropriated by the Congress of the United 
States for the purchase of my husbands- papers, which 
sum stands invested in the names of James Buchanan, 
John Y. Mason & Richard Smith as trustees : 

secondly I give and bequeath to my adopted daughter 
Annie Payne ten thousand dollars, the remaining half 
of the said sum of twenty thousand dollars appropriated 
as aforesaid by Congress and standing in the name of 
said trustees, for her life time ; hereby directing the said 
sum of ten thousand dollars to remain in the names of 
the said trustees for the use of my said adopted daughter 
for her life and that they the said trustees pay the in- 
terest, as it becomes due on the same, to her, during 
her life : 

A.nd I further will & devise that should my said son 
John Payne Todd survive my said daughter that upon 
her death the sum so devised to her shall be paid over 
to him & his executors ; but in the event of my said 
adopted daughter Annie Payne, surviving the said John 
Payne Todd, that the sum above devised to her for life 
shall be held by the said trustees for her — & her exec- 
utors free from all condition : leaving all the rest and 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

remainder of my property to be administered and dis- 
tributed according: to law. 


D. P. Madison 

Signed, published & 
declared by me the 
said Dolly P. Madison 
as my last will & 
testament, this ninth 
day of July in the year 
1849: in the presence 
of Sally B. L. Thomas 

Elizabeth Lee 

J. Madison Cutis 


The belongings of Mrs. Madison are highly treasured 
and far scattered. These are all known to the writer : 

Gold ring with hair of Washington, given by him to 
Mrs. Madison, and by her, in 1847, to Rev. George Duf- 
field. Owned by Mrs. Edwards Pierrepont. 

A chair. Owned by Miss Virginia Miller. 

A fan. Owned by Miss Ella Loraine Dorsey. 

Ear drops. Amethysts in quaint gold chains. Adele 
Cutts Williams. 

Ear drops and necklace. Carbuncles set in tiny old- 
fashioned seed pearls. Mrs. Madison Cutts. 

Two plates in the White House China Collection. 
Presented by J. Henley Smith. 

Necklace, mosaic with blue trimmings. Wedding 
present from Mr. Madison. Mrs. John B. Henderson. 

Handsome plates, one dozen. Mrs. Joseph B. For- 

Gold pencil. Miss Rebekah Rawlings. 

In the State Department, Bureau of rolls and library. 
Mrs. Madison's "trunk, a quaint little box, about a foot 
and a half long, covered with red morocco and adorned 
with brass tacks and handles." "Contains an impor- 
tant part of the original Constitution papers — the orig- 
inal journal of the federal constitutional convention." 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 


Dolly's features are pictured in drawings, engravings, 
miniatures and paintings. A gallery they would make 
of real art and beauty. The list is incomplete. No re- 
production is mentioned. 

Miniature by James Peale, dated 1794. 

Pencil drawing by T. C. Liebers. Owned by Joseph C. 
McGuire, Esq. 

Sketch by John Vanderlyn. "February 28, 1803. Saw 
M r Vanderlyn begin M rs M's picture in black lead 
pencil." Mrs. Thornton's diary. 

Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, 1804. Pennsylvania Acad- 
emy of Fine Arts. 

"June 3, 1804. Stuart has taken an admirable 
likeness of Mr. Madison; both his and mine are 

— Mrs. Madison. 

"I send you an engraving from Stuart's Portrait, 
which tho' indifferently executed, is a better like- 
ness than Mr. Wood's." — Mrs. Madison. 

Miniature in water colors by Dr. William Thornton. 
Reproduced in Forty Years of Washington Society. 

Silhouette from life. Reproduced in Forty Years of 
Washington Society. 

Miniature by artist unknown. Reproduced in the His- 
tory of the Centennial Celebration of the Inaugura- 
tion of George Washington as First President of 
the United States. 

Miniature. Painted in 1812 or 1814 on ivory. Repro- 
duced in Our Presidents, Their Wives and Children. 

Engraving in The Port Folio. April, 1818. Drawn by 
" Otis. 

Portrait by Rembrandt Peale. Owned by the New York- 
Historical Society. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 

Life Mask by John Henri Isaac Browere, October, 1825. 

Reproduced in Browere's Life Masks of Great 

Americans. Charles Henry Hart. 
Portrait by Joseph Wood. 
Portrait by Joseph Wood. Owned by the family of the 

late Walter D. Davidge. 
Portrait by James Sharpless. Owned by the city of 

Philadelphia and exhibited in Independence Hall. 
Daguerreotype taken for Mrs. John C. Spencer, 1844. 
Miniature by Elizabeth Milligan. April, 1844. 
Miniature bv Fleming. 
Portrait by W. S. Elwell. March, 1848. "A faithful 

portrait W. W. S." (Seaton.) Owned by Admiral 

Seaton Schroeder. 
Engraving by R. Soper. Godey's Magazine and Lady's 

Book, November, 1852. 
Portrait by Alonzo Chappel. Reproduced in Portrait 

Gallery of Eminent Men and Women. 
Portrait by Prof. Eliphalet F. Andrews, 1911. An 

Portrait by Eastman Johnson. 

Mr. Johnson to his father, March 16, 1841 : 

On Saturday I commenced a portrait of Mrs. Mad- 
ison. She was very agreeable and I take much pleas- 
ure in going every morning to her house. She comes 
in at 10 o'clock in full dress for the occasion, and, as 
she has much taste she looks quite imposing with her 
white satin turban, black velvet dress and a counte- 
nance full of benignity and gentleness. She talks a 
great deal and in such quick, beautiful tones. So 
polished and elegant are her manners that it is a 
pleasure to be in her company. To-day she was 
telling me of Lafayette, Mr. Jefferson and others. 
Portrait, replica of above, for Daniel Webster. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 


Mrs. Washington, the wife of the Associate Justice 
— they lived at Mount Vernon — under date, Alexandria, 
March 30, 1812, writes: 

Mrs. Washington returns her very affte. compts. to 
Mrs. Madison, and assures her that it was with much 
regret she found herself under the necessity of declining 
Mrs. Madison's invitation to attend the nuptials of her 
sister. Mrs. Madison's note reached Mrs. Washington 
only a few hours before that appointed for the perform- 
ance of the marriage ceremony. Mrs. Washington begs 
leave, through the medium of Mrs. Madison, to offer 
her felicitations to Judge and Mrs. Todd; in which Mr. 
Washington, who is now from home, will heartily join 
when he hears how happily his good wishes for Judge 
Todd have succeeded. 


The Collection of Period Costume at the National 
Museum is due to the enthusiasm and effort of Mrs. 
Julian-James and to her is greatly praiseworthy. It in- 
structs and interests. The decrees of fashion for a cen- 
tury are published. 

The gown of Dolly Madison is beautiful buff with 
graceful figures of grain and ties between. It is over 
heavy white satin, on which is embroidered a vine of 
pink roses with the suggestion "The rose is fairest when 
'tis budding new." The creation is lace-edged. The 
sleeves are to the elbow; the bodice is low-cut, yet the 
charm of person could have been none the less because 
of the delicate lace that fell from smooth shoulders. The 
creation was complement to Dolly's charms. In no 
richer array did ever bow a queen in Solomon's court. 

It was lent by Mrs. W. F. E. Wyse. 


Life and Letters of Dolly Madison 


Abbott, John S. C, 459, 460 

Abbott, Mrs. Willis J., 498 

Abert, Mr. and Mrs. Charles, 470 

Adams, Mrs. Charles, 292 

Adams, John, 31, 36, 63. 99, 166, 

188, 232 
Adams, Mrs. John, 7, 8, 31, 36, 

37, 39, 63, 258, 469 
Adams, John Quincy, 47, 65, 102, 

159, 202, 283, 284, 287, 310, 

356, 409, 430, 431, 457, 460, 

Adams, Mrs. John Quincy, 217, 

292, 293, 308. 364, 427, 429, 

Adams, Mrs. John, 308 
Adams, Miss Louisa, 293, 304 
Adams. Miss Mary, 293, 364 
Albuquerque, Cavalcanti d', 284 
Alexander, Frank, 258 
Alsop, Mr. and Mrs. Richard, 470 
Alston, Theodosia Burr, 106 
Andrews, Eliphalet F., 497, 506 
Ansberry, Mrs. Timothy, 498 
Armstrong, Gen. John, 123, 163, 

170, 175, 179, 182. 184, 185 
Astor, John Jacob, 144, 145, 316, 

377, 398, 433 
Aulick, Mr. and Mrs. John H., 

Ayres, Mrs. Steven B., 498 

Bache, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander D., 
Miss, 470 

Bacon, Capt., 206, 207 

Bagot, Sir and Mrs. Charles, 194. 

Bailey, Chester, 164 

Baker, Mrs., 367 

Baker, Anthony St. John, 122 

Balch, Rev. Stephen B., 129 

Baldwin, Henry, 445; Mrs. Bald- 
win, 123 

Balmaine, Rev. Alexander, 25, 27 

Bancroft, George, 387, 388, 462 

Bancroft, Mrs. George, 388 

Bankhead, Mrs. John II., 498 

Barbour, James, 24, 246 

Barbour, John S.. 362, 363 
» Baring, Alexander (Lord Ash- 
burton). 320, 321, 457 

Barker. Jacob, 166, 170, 198, 
403'7, 423. 425; Mrs. Barker, 
404 . 

Barlow, Toel, 117'20, 122, 123, 
146. 402, 445 

Barlow, Mrs. Joel, 104, 118-*20, 
122, 123, 131, 445 

Barlow, Stephen, 444 

Barlow, Thomas, 445 

Bauduv, M. and Mme. Ferdinand, 
133, 134 

Bayard, Tames A., 159, 194 

Bayly, Thomas II.. 432 

Beall, Mrs. Jack. 49S 

Beazee, M. and Mme., 222 

Bell. Mr. and Mrs. John, 470 

Belmont, Mrs. Perry, 498, 499 
Bennett, James Gordon, 170, 322, 

323, 423; Mrs Bennett, 322 
Berrien, Mr. and Mrs. John M., 

Biddle, Mrs. Thomas, 369 
Birth, William W„ 197 
Blaine, James G., 147 
Blair, Mr. and Mrs. Francis P., 

298, 470 
Blake, Como. George S., 334 
Blake, James H., 100, 137, 177; 

Mrs. Blake, 137 
Blodget, Mrs. Samuel, 166 
Bodisco, Alexandre de, 376, 463, 

470; Mrs. Bodisco, 470 
Bomford, Col. George, 246, 316, 

398, 402, 445 
Bomford, Mrs. George, 123, 146, 

242, 243, 246, 288, 445 
Bonaparte, Mme. Jerome, 59, 122, 

125, 126, 131, 152, 225, 441-'4, 

Bonfil, Mme., 255 
Borland, Mrs. William P., 498 
Boyd, A. M., 365 

Brackenridge, Rev. Tohn, 92, 186 
Bradford, Emily, 333 
Bradlev, Abraham, 171, 176 
Bradley, Charles, 176 
Brantley, Mrs. William G., 498 
Brent, Robert, 117, 401 
Brent, William, 67, 100 
Brevoort, Henry. 114, 116 
Brodeau, Ann, 62, 88, 105, 493 
Brooke, Francis, 285 
Brooks, Geraldine, 444 
Browere, John H. I., 220, 221. 506 
Brown, Miss, 160, 167, 173 
Brown. Gen. Jacob, 194 
Brown, Miss Marie McM., 499 
Brown, Mrs. William G., 498 
Bryan, John, 340 
Brvan, Mrs. Nathan P., 498 
Bryan, Wilhelmus B., 473 
Brvan, Mrs. William Jennings, 

498, 499 
Buchanan, Tames, 420, 433, 454, 

Buckley, Mrs. Effingham L., 360 
Bulkley, Mrs. Robert J., 498 
Burd, Mrs. C. H., 470 
Burke, Fannie Maury, 340 
Burleson, Mrs. Albert S., 498, 499 
Burnes, David. 249. 250; James, 

249; John. 251 
Burnes, Marcia, see Mrs. John 

Peter Van Ness 
Burr, Aaron. 19, 67, 89, 106. 204, 

Burwell, William A., 211 
Butler, Andrew P., 4.".9 
Butler, Frederick, 222 
Butler, Mrs. William Orlando, — 

Cadwalader, Gen. and Mrs. John, 


NAME INDEX— Continued 

Calderon de la Barca, Don A., 

463, 470; Mine. Calderon, 463 
Calhoun. John. 439, 461 
Campbell, George W., 170 
Cantrill, Mrs. James C, 498 
Carbre, Count de, 78 
Carlin, Mrs. Charles D., 49S 
Carlisle, Tames M., 454 
Carroll, Charles of Belle Vue, 165, 
167, 170, 171, 175, 348, 394, 
404, 407, 424 
Carroll, Charles T., 170, 404-'6, 

Carroll, Daniel of Duddington, 42, 
100, 209. 404: Mrs. Carroll, 
Carroll, Rev. John, 84, 442 
Carroll, William T., 432, 470; Mrs. 

Carroll, 470 
Carter, Mrs. (Caroline Place, 

Georgetown), 470 
Carvalho, Moreira F. T. de and 

Mme., 470 
Cass, Lewis, 386 

Catlin, Mr. and Mrs. George, 460 

Causten, James H., Jr., 485, 486 

Causten, Mrs. James H., Jr., 261, 

305. 306, 309, 313, 314, 318, 

326, 333, 334, 342, 344, 353, 

361, 380, 388, 392, 418, 419, 

421, 423, 431, 447, 454, 455, 

462, 466, 485, 494 

Chamberlain, Mrs. George E., 498, 

Chandler, Mrs. Ezekiel S., Tr., 498 
Chandler, Walter S., 168 
Chappel, Alonzo, 506 
Chauncey, Como. Isaac, 197 
Cheves, Langdon, 140 
Clark, Mrs. Champ, 497, 499 
Clarke, Mrs. Anna R., 372 
Clarke, John H., 432, 470; Mrs. 

Clarke, 470 
Clarke, Matthew St. Clair, 305, 

Clay, Henry, 93, 159, 194, 217, 
246, 277, 279, 285, 286, 306, 
395, 461, 463, 475, 483, 486 
Clay, Mrs. Henrv, 243. 246, 277, 

Clayton, Mrs. Henry B., 497-'9 
Clayton, John M., 450 
Clinton, De Witt, 148 
Clinton, George, 93, 123, 130 
Coffey, Mrs. Mary C, 473 
Cogswell, Joseph G., 377 
Colden, Mrs. Cadwallader David, 

Coles, Edward, 128, 138, 141, 151, 
153, 154, 160, 210, 245, 314, 
326; Mrs. Coles, 314 
Coles, Isaac A., 100, 101 
Coles, Mr. and Mrs. William, 9 
Conway, Lucy H., 293 
Coolidge, Toseph, 423; Mrs. Cool- 
idge, 211, 218, 423 
Coolidge, Mr. and Mrs. Richard, 

Cooper, Comd. James B., 13 
Cooper, Thomas Apthorpe, 311; 

Mrs. Cooper, 252 
Cooper, William J., 400 

Corcoran, William W., 410-'12, 
434, 455, 456; Mrs. Corcoran, 
410, 411 
Coxe, Mr. and Mrs. Richard S., 

Craig, Capt. William, 466 
Craig, Mrs. William, 396, 449, 

465, 466, 473, 495, 499 
Cranch, Christopher Pease, 266 
Cranch, William, 266, 275; Mrs. 

Cranch, 38 
Cravens, Mrs. Ben, 498 
Creighton, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh, 12 
Crittenden, John L, 279, 286, 298, 
304, 360, 456; Mrs. Crittenden, 
286, 448 
Croggon, James, 165, 446 
Cross, William B., 470 
Crowninshield, Benjamin W., 190, 

197; Mrs. Crowninshield, 190'4; 

Charles Crowninshield, 395; Miss 

E. B. Crowninshield, 395 ; Miss 

Elisabeth Crowninshield, 395 
Cullop, Mrs. William A., 498, 499 
Cunningham, Pamelia, 354 
Curley, Mrs. James M., 498 
Curtis, Mr. and Mrs. Edward, 286 
Curtis, George Ticknor, 317 
Custis, George W. P., 175 
Cutler, Rev. Manasseh. 47, 50. 52, 

55, 56, 64, 65, 76, 77, 86; T. 

Cutler. 64 
Cutler, Julia Perkins, 77 
Cutler, William Parker, 77 
Cutting, Mrs. Nathaniel, 174 
Cutts, Addie, see Mrs. Robert 

Cutts, Charles, 305; Mrs. Cutts, 

Cutts, Dolly P. M., 223, 23<?, 240, 

244, 246, 268, 269, 289'91, 

332 485 
Cutts,' Tames Madison, 261, 262, 

301, 353, 421, 455, 450, 461, 

493, 494; Mrs. Cutts, 261, 418, 

461, 465 
Cutts, Tames Madison, Jr., 262, 

467, 468 
Cutts, Lucia Beverly, 32, 142, 160 
Cutts, Mrs. L. Henrv, 470 
Cutts, Mary E. E., 223, 241, 242, 

244, 246, 259, 267'69, 292, 

298, 312, 335, 395, 485'7 
Cutts, Richard, 65, 66, 84, 97, 114, 

138, 141, 169'72, 174'6, 178, 

179, 183, 184, 248, 272, 273, 

285, 289, 290, 304, 360, 361, 

Cutts, Mrs. Richard, 10, 15, 24. 

25, 52, 65-'7, 69, 70, 73, 74, 77, 

79, 84, 88, 91, 94, 97, 101, 114, 

115. 123, 127, 131, 152, 172. 

174'8, 183, 200, 212, 215, 223. 

240, 246-'S, 252, 256, 262, 267, 

Cutts, Richard D., 234, 260, 324, 

347, 348, 365, 371, 396; Mrs. 

Cutts, 348, 371, 396 
Cutts, Thomas, 261. 269, 289, 396. 

466; Mrs. Cutts, 261, 396. 466 
Cutts, Walter. 223, 224, 237, 244, 



NAME INDEX— Continued 

Dahlgren, Miss 468 
Dallas, George M.. 470; Mrs. Dal- 
las. 47(»; Miss Dallas, 470 
Dandridge, Dorothea Spotswood. 
Davidge, Walter D., 207, 335, 

Davis, Mrs. John W., 498 
Davis, Tlicodosia, 334 
Dearborn, Gen. Henry, 41, 70, 90, 

123, 130, 131, 209; Mrs. Dear- 
born, 90 
Dearborn. Henry A. S., 391 
Decatur, Como. Stephen, 140, 146, 

Decatur. Mrs. Stephen, 445, 402 
Dashkoff, de, 66, 208; Mine, de 

Dashkoff, 66 
DeKay, Mrs. Janet IT., 353, 354 
Dent, Mrs. Stanley H., Jr., 498 
Denver, Mrs. Matthew R., 498 
DePevster, Robert G. L., 166, 198, 

394, 405'8, 423'5 
Dickens, Mr. and Mrs. Asburv, 

Dickinson, John D., 300 
Dietz, Elizabeth C, 413 
Dilworth, Jonathan, 17 
Dixon, Mrs. Lincoln, 498 
Dodd, Dr. William, 239, 492. 493 
Doremus, Mrs. Frank E., 498 
Dorr, Mrs. F. R., 498 
Dorsev, Ella Loraine, 386, 504 
D'Orsav, Count Alfred G. G., 268, 

Douglas, Stephen A., 375, 410. 494 
Downing, Jacob, 11 
Drake, Joseph Rodman, 353 
Drinker," Elizabeth, 10, 11, 17, 18, 

29, 81; Nancy, 11; Sally, 11 
Dromgoole, George C, 338, 420 
Duncan, Garnett. 416, 432; Mrs. 

Duncan, 410 
Duncanson, William Mavne. S5, 

du Pont, Henry A., 134 
du Pont, William, 481 
Dupre, Miss Isabel L., 498 
Duval, Gabriel, 1S7, 348; Mrs. 

Duval, 54, 103 

Eakin, Tames, 100, 209 

Earle, fames, 488 

Eaton, Mrs. Tohn H., 113 

Ellet, William H., 439; Mrs. Ellet, 

143, 438-'40 
Elliot. Jonathan, 87, 254, 255, 386 
Elliott, Capt. Jesse D., 358, 359 
Ellis, Mrs. Pearl T.. 499 
Ellsworth, Henry L., 339 
Ellsworth, Miss Annie G, 339 
Elwell, W. S., 413. 473, 506 
Eppes, Mrs. John Wayles, 50 
Erskine, David Montague, 89, 102: 

Mrs. Erskine, 102 
Erving, George W., 44.S 
Erwin, Mrs. John B., 473 
Eustis, Mr. and Mrs.. George, 411 
Eustis, William, 203; Mrs. Eustis. 

131, 203 
Ewell, Dr. James, 177 
Eyre, Mrs. Wilson (Louise Lear), 


Fairfax. Thorn; s, 1 (| ' 
Fendall, Philip EL, 450 

Ferris, Mrs. Scotl, 4HS 
Field, Mrs. John \V.. 369 
Finley, Mrs. David E., 498 
Fitzgerald, K., 90 

Fleming, Ann. '.» 

Fleming, 47.'!, 505 

Fletcher, Mr. and Mrs. Charles, 

Fletcher, Mrs. Duncan U., 499 
Floyd, Gen. William, 49; Miss 

Catherine Floyd, 49 
Foraker, Mrs. loseph B., 504 
Forrest, David M., 209 
Forrest, French, 209 
Forrest, Richard, 89, 144. 145, 

175, ,",50; Mrs. Forrest, 67, 102, 

Forrest, Gen. Uriah, 349, 350; 

Mrs. Forrest, 350 
Forsyth, Tohn, 280; Mrs. Forsyth, 

2S4, 287 
Foss, Mrs. Eugene N., 499 
Foster, Sir Augustus, 54, 62, 91, 

111, 113, 122, 131 
Foster, Sir Augustus J., 62 
Foster, Corra Bacon, 246, 444, 

446, 473 
Fox, Sir Henry. 30S 
Fremont, Mrs. Tessie Benton, 340, 

463, 494 
French, George, 350 
French, George, Jr., 281, 351 
French, Rev. J. W., 450 
Freneau, Philip, 30, 31 
Fulton, Robert, 445 

Gadsby, Mrs. John, 470 

Gaines, Gen. Edmund P., 194, 403 

Gaines, Mrs. Edmund P. (Mvra 

Clark), 377, 403 
Gales, Mrs. Joseph, Sr., 434 
Gales. Toseph, 446, 447, 450; Mrs. 

Gales, 447 
Gallatin, Albert, 41, 42, 44, 47, 

159. 194, 200 
Gallatin. Mrs. Albert, 42, 50, 125, 

159, 160, 197, 200, 344 
Gamble, Mr. and Mrs. James, 470 
Gantt, Rev. Elward, 66 
Gardiner. Mr. and Mrs. C. K., 471 
Gardiner. David, 333, 334 
Garrett, Mrs. Finis J.. 499 
Gates, Gen. Horatio, 28, 29; Mrs. 

Gates, 29 
George, Mrs. Henrv, Jr.. 499 
Gilpin, Henrv D.. 313, 369. 370 
Gilpin, Mrs. Henrv D., 287, 313. 

314, 369, 370. 371 
Gleig, George, 73 
Giles, William B., 235 
Gilmer. Thomas W., 333, 334 
Gobright, Louis A.. 193, 475 
Goodloe, Mrs. Green Clay, 499 
Goodwin, Maud Wilder. 10. 14. 15, 

25, 26. 32, 103. 18S, 205, 206. 

359, 468 
Goodwin. Peterson, 13S 
Gore, Mrs. Thomas P., 499 
Gouveneur, Marian, 322. 409, 465, 



NAME INDEX— Continued 

Gouveneur, Samuel L., 471; Mrs. 

Gouveneur, 323, 471 
Graham, Mrs. George, 288, 441 
Graham, Mrs. James M., 499 
Graham, John, 100 
Gratz, Rebecca, 369 
Greenough, Horatio, 258 
Gregg, Mrs. Curtis H., 499 
Greenleaf, Tames, 42 
Griffin, Appleton P. C., 473 
Grinnell, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph, 471 
Grubb, Sarah, 386 
Gulick, Mrs. Elizabeth M., 325, 

331, 435, 505 

Hadfield, George, 254 

Hagner, Alexander B., 322, 364, 

Hagner, Peter, 254, 437, 438; 

Mrs. Hagner, 43S 
Hagner, Gen. Peter V., 437, 438 
Hall, Capt. Basil, 225, 226 
Hall, Lieut. Francis, 200 
Halleck, Fitz-Greene, 198 
Halleck, Mrs. Israel, 199 
Hallowell, 24, 143 
Hamilton, Alexander, 17, 74, 232, 

427, 488 
Hamilton, Mrs. Alexander, 364, 

417. 429, 4S8'90 
Hamilton, Lieut. Archibald, 146, 

Hamilton, Paul. 117, 131; Mrs. 

Hamilton, 131 ; Miss Hamilton, 

Hamlin, Rev. Teunis S., 100 
Hannegan. Edward A., 432 
Hardy, Mrs. Rufus, 499 
Harmon, Mrs. Judson. 498, 499 
Harris, Esther W., 471 
Harrison, Mrs. Matthew (Harriotte 

Jones), 378, 379 
Harrison, William Henry, 272, 

303, 307, 378 
Hart, Charles Henry, 220, 506 
Haswell, Charles H., U. S. N., 396; 

Miss Haswell. 396 
Hawley, Rev. William, 256, 258 
Hay, George, 105, 152; Mrs. Hay. 

Hayden, Mrs. Carl, 499 
Hayne, Robert Y., 295, 447; Miss 

Havne, 296 
Healy, George P. A., 223, 295 
Heflin, Mrs. J. Thomas, 499 
Henderson, Gen. Archibald, 100, 

253, 428, 430, 450, 471; Mrs. 

Henderson, 253, 471 
Henderson, Mrs. John B., 504 
Henry, Mrs. Kate Kearney, 47, 89. 

145, 226, 253, 350. 382 
Henry, Patrick, 10, 2r',2, 295 
Hibben, Rev. Henry B., 233 
Hill, Mrs. Charles, 2S7. 471 
Hill, Mrs. Clement. 471 
Hill, Silas TL, 45:'. 
Hitchcock, Mrs. Gilbert W., 499 
Hite, Mr. and Mrs. (Nelly Madi- 
son), 25 
Hoes, Mrs. Randall, 499 
Holloway, Laura Carter, 166, 185, 

309, 310, 458 

Holloway, 218 

Holly, Mrs. Hamilton, 418, 489 
Homans, Benjamin, 160 
Hood, James F., 274 
Hopkinson, Joseph, 45 
Howe, M. A. DeWolffe, 388 
Howell, Jeremiah B., 126 
Hubbard, Samuel D., 432 
Hubbs, Rebekah, 161, 162 
Hull, Capt. Isaac, 144, 146 
Hull, Gen. William, 144 
Humboldt, Baron von, 73, 74 
Hume, David, 361 
Hume, Dr. Thomas, 71 
Humphreys, Col. David, 99 
Hunt, Gaillard, 28, 40, 47, 54, 62, 

84, 100, 107, 162, 221, 276 
Hunt, Memucum, 286 
Hunter, Alexander, 471; Mrs. 

Hunter, 166, 287, 471 
Huntt, Henry, 209 

Ingersoll, Charles Tared, 158, 173, 

189, 271, 329, 4~03 
Irving, Washington, 114, 138, 185, 

252, 295 
Irving, William, 117 
Iturbide, Mme., 381 

Jackson, Andrew, 141, 189, 190, 

217, 246, 270, 271, 274, 281, 

303, 359, 361, 488 
Jackson, John George, 32, 90, 94, 

97. 105, 110 
Jackson, Mrs. John George (Mary 

Payne), 10, 15, 32, 90, 94, 264 
Jackson, Joseph, 16 
Jackson, Samuel, 348 
Jay, Augustus, 401 
Jay, John, 98, 232 
Jefferson, Thomas, 8, 17, 29, 45. 

49, 50, 52, 54, 61, 63, 70, 99. 

105, 113, 154, 206, 213, 216, 

229, 232, 250, 341, 344, 347, 

359, 415, 433, 442, 467, 498 
Teffrey, Francis, 136, 137 
Jeffries, Miss, 267 
Jennings. Paul, 167, 168, 390, 461 
Jesup, Gen. Thomas S., 351, 450, 

471; Mrs. Jesup, 388, 471 
Johnson, Andrew, 420 
Johnson, Mrs. Ben, 499 
Tohnson, Mr. and Mrs. Henry, 471 
Johnson. J. Eastman, 221, 382, 

383, 505 
Tohnson, Mrs. Joseph F., 499 
Tohnson, William, Jr., 205 
Tohnson, Mrs. W. C, 499 
Johnston, Josiah S., 369 
Johnston, William Dawson, 111 
Jones, Fanny Lee, 378 
Jones, Gen. and Mrs. Roger, 471 
Tones, Samuel, 18 
Jones, Walter, 291, 377, 378, 

427, 432, 450, 454, 486; Mrs. 

Jones, 378 
Tones, William, 152, 162, 171, 184; 

Mrs. Jones, 162, 163; Miss Lucy 

Jones, 162 
Jones, Mrs. William A., 499 
Julian-James, Mrs., 507 


NAME INDEX— Continued 

Kemble, Mary, 471 

Kennon, Capt. Beverly, 333; Mrs. 

Kcnnon, 334 
Kerr, Alexander, 209; Mrs. Kerr, 

287; Miss Mary Ann Kerr, 254 
King, Charles Bird, 35S, 385, 446, 

454, 473 
King, Horatio, 173 
King, James G., 318 
King, Nicholas, 255 
King, William R., 138, 318 
Kinkead, Mrs. Eugene F., 499 
Kirkpatrick, Mary, 196 
Knapp, Samuel L., 201, 408 
Knickerbocker, Herman, 117 
Knox, Gen. Henrv, 17, 98; Mrs. 

Knox, 09, 70, 73 
Konop, Mrs. Thomas F., 409 
Krudener, Baron de, 267 

Lafayette, Marquis de. 165, 217, 

221, 291, 417. 430 
Latrobe, Benjamin H., 85, 103, 

107, 109, 110, 117, 252, 445; 

Mrs. Latrobe. 109, 164, 166 
Law, Tohn, 100, 137 
Law, Thomas, 42, 45, 74, 76, 85, 

Law, Mrs. Thomas, 75, 76, 472 
Lawrence, Mr. and Mrs. Abbott, 

Lawrence, Amos, 393 
Lear, Tobias, 444, 487; Benjamin 

L. Lear, 488; Miss Maria Lear, 

Lear, Mrs. Tobias. 243, 244, 263, 

288, 323, 326, 342, 364, 380, 

392, 393, 462, 487, 488, 490 
Learned, Mrs. Frank, 482 
Lee, Mrs. Gordon, 499 
Lee, Adm. Samuel P., 298 
Lee, Richard Bland, 490, 491 
Lee, Mrs. Richard Bland. 14, 19. 

197, 203, 205, 207, 208, 311, 

312, 399, 448, 449, 451, 455, 

473, 490 
Lee, Theodoric, 447: Henry Lee, 

447; Gen. Robert E. Lee, 447 
Lee, William, 118-'20; Mrs. Lee. 

L'Egare, Hugh Swinton, 330 
L'Egare, Tames, 330, 335 
L'Egare. Mary S., 309, 328'30, 

335, 336 
L'Enfant, Col. Charles Pierre, 85, 

Leland, Charles Godfrey, 15 
Lenox, Walter, 453 
LeRoy, Jacob, 317 
Lever, Mrs. Asbury F., 499 
Lewis, Thomas, 50 
Liebers, T. C, 472, 504 
Linthicum, Mrs. J. Charles, 499 
Littleton, Mrs. Martin W., 498, 499 
Livineston, Edward, 99, 127, 442 
Llovd, Mrs. Tames T., 499 
Loc'kwood, Mary S., 282, 308, 311 
Long, Robert, 100, 101 
Love, Richard H., 168, 169; Mrs. 

Love, 169 
Lovett, Thomas R., 446 
Lummis, William M., 440 

Lyons, Charles, 120 

Mack, Mrs. Norman E., 498, 499 
Mack. Mrs. R. E., 439 
McChord, Mrs. Charles C, 499 
Macomb, Gen. Alexander, 284, 471 ; 
Mrs. Macomb. 471; Misses Ma- 
comb, 284 
McCormick, Rev. Andrew T.. 128, 

McCormick, Mrs. Charles T. A., 

McCormick, Rev. John H., 325 
McDowell, James, 432; Mrs. 

McDowell, 441 
McGuire, Joseph C, 504 
McGuire, Miss Mary M., 472 
McKean, Mrs. H. Pratt, 369 
McKean, Thomas, 132 
McKenney, Thomas L., 168, 219, 
303, 355, 366, 384-'7; Mrs. 
McKennev, 387 
McLean, John R., 350, 351 
Madison, James, Sr., 24, 44, 107; 
Mrs. Madison, 73, 107, 162, 
212, 233 
Madison, Rev. James, 27, 28 
Madison, Tames, 17, 19-'32. 41, 
44'9, 51, 52, 54, 61'4, 75, 76. 
81, 83, 84, 87, 90, 93, 94, 97, 
99'103. 105, 106, 108, 111, 
113, 120, 124, 125, 129, 130, 
I.'..:, 136-'8, 140'2, 144, 145, 
147-'5l, 153, 154, 162, 164, 
165, 167'72, 176, 178, 180, 
1S.V5. 189, 192, 197, 203, 205, 
206, 208, 210, 217, 218, 220, 
221, 229. 230, 232-'7, 242'4, 
248, 258-'62, 269'72, 275, 276. 
278, 279, 284, 285, 294, 303. 
315, 341. 359, 361, 363, 366, 
367, 371, 385, 389, 391, 404, 
408, 415, 420, 421, 430, 442. 
452, 453, 458-'60, 468, 472, 475, 
481. 484, 491 
Madison, Mrs. Tames, 7-11, 14-22, 
25, 26, 29-32, 35, 40, 41, 44. 
45, 48, 49, 52, 54, 61, 62, 64'9, 
72, 76, 78-84, 88-91, 93*5. 97. 
lOO-'ll, 113, 114. 117'20, 
122'30, 132, 135. 137'60, 163, 
164, 166, 168, 169. 172, 174-'8. 
180, 1S4'8, 190-'4, 196'8, 200, 
202-'S, 210, 211, 213, 214, 216. 
219'24, 226, 229, 232'7, 
239'42, 244'9, 25S-'63, 265. 
267'77, 279'84, 286'94, 296, 
297, 299-301, 303, 304, 306. 
307'16. 318'29, 331 -'48, 350. 
351, 353'5, 357-'07. 370'6, 
378, 380. 382-'5. 387-401, 405, 
407, 409'12. 415'29, 431-'3. 
435-'41, 444'69, 472'82, 485'8, 
490, 491, 497, 498, 503, 504 
Madison, James, Tr.. 104 
Madison, William, 104, 263, 361, 

Magrudcr, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick, 

138; Miss Magruder, 139 
Mann, Mrs. Henry L., 473 
Marcy, William L., 321, 374 


NAME INDEX— Continued 

Marshall, John, 141, 194, 236, 

275, 427 
Martin, Charles, 488 
Martin, Luther, 251 
Martine, Mrs. James E., 499 
Martineau, Harriet, 265-'7 
Martini, Adr., 2S4 
Mason, Mr. and Mrs. George, 254 
Mason, Jeremiah, 218 
Mason, " Tohn, 170, 171; Mrs. 

Mason, 246 
Mason, Tohn Young, 336, 338, 

420, 432, 438, 454, 456, 471; 
Mrs. Mason, 438, 454, 471 

Massej', Henry, 249 

Maurv, Fontaine, 115 

Maxcv, Virgil. 333; Mrs. Maxcv, 

Meade, Mrs. Richard R., 471 
Mechlin, Toseph, 187 
Meigs, Mrs., 284 
Meikleham, Dr. D. S., 397: Mrs. 

Meikleham, 345, 397 
Meredith, William M., 450 
Merry, Anthony, 57, 59, 61-'3, 70, 

86, 87 
Merry, Mrs. Anthony, 58-64, 70. 

77, 87 
Micou, Mrs. Ella H., 499 
Mifflin, Samuel, 135 
Middleton, Arthur, 253, 254; Mrs. 

Middleton, 253 
Middleton, C, 258 
Miller, Mrs. Harmon, 499 
Miller, Tulia F., 489 
Miller, Dr. Thomas, 270, 378, 485, 

493; Mrs. Miller, 270, 378, 379, 

Miller, Virginia, 378, 380, 486, 

499, 504 
Millot, Mrs. A. Francis, 473 
Mills, W. Tay, 12 
Minor, Mrs.. 168, 169 
Mitchell, Capt. James, 435 
Mitchell. Dr. Samuel L., 48-50, 

56, 91; Mrs. Mitchell, 48, 56, 

Moncure. Henry W., 343, 344 
Monroe, Tames, 28, 31, 32, 61, 62, 

152, 163, 170'2, 175'7, 179, 

181 -'4, 212, 213, 216, 224, 235, 

236, 377, 404, 430; Mrs. Mon- 
roe, 28. 32, 105, 152, 252 
Montgomery, Mrs. John (Maria 

Nicholson), 50 
Montgomery, Mrs. Tohn C, 369 
Moon, Rohert C, 135 
Moore. Thomas, 57, 70, 72. 137, 

199, 480 
Morgan, Dr. James Dudley, 401 
Morpeth. Lord (George Howard), 

Morris. Anne Cary, 150 
Morris, Anthony," 14, 84, 126-'8, 

133'6, 153. 214. 240, 272. 

280-'2, 314, 336, 360, 451, 472, 

491, 492 
Morris, Como. Charles, 145, 410, 

421, 422. 4:*2, 450, 4 71: Mrs. 
Morris. 421, -171: blisses Morris, 

Morris, Effingham B., 472 

Morris, Gouveneur, 150 
Morris, James P., 125, 153 
Morris, Mrs. Luke W., 360 
Morris, Phoebe P., 121, 125'8, 

133'5, 150, 153, 211'3, 215'7, 

Morris, Robert, 42, 239, 404 
Mosher, Mrs. Theodore, 471 
Murray, Mrs. Sterling, 473 
Myers, Mrs. Henry L., 499 

Nancrede, Mrs. Y. G., 369 
Neeley, Airs. George A., 499 
Nelson, John, 216; Mrs. John, 105 
Neuville, E. Hyde de, 209, 435, 

436; Mme. de Neuville, 208. 

209, 436 
Newbold, John L., 349 
Nicholson, John, 42 
Norris, Mr. and Mrs. Moses, 471 
Norton, Mrs. Louisa Key, 473 
Nourse, Miss Caroline, 314 
Nourse. Charles Joseph, 214, 281: 

Mrs. Nourse, 125, 133, 214, 280, 

Nourse, Toseph, 281, 348 
Nourse, Miss Mary, 280, 281, 314 

Oeller, James, 26 
O'Gorman, Mrs. James A., 499 
Oldfield, Mrs. William A., 499 
O'Neale, Peggy, see Mrs. John H. 

O'Neale, William. 170 
Orr, Benjamin G., 209 
O'Shaunessv, Mrs. George F., 499 
Oswald, John, 40 
Ouseley, Sir Gore, 255 
Owen, Mrs. Robert L., 499 
Owen, Mrs. T. W., 498 
Owen, Mrs. William O., 499 

Page, Mrs. Lilly, 400 

Page, Mrs. Robert N., 499 

Pakenham, Sir Richard, 336 

Palfrev, Tohn G., 439 

Palmer, Mrs. A. Mitchell, 499 

Parish, Mrs. Levi, 313, 471 

Park, Dr. Thomas, 95 

Patterson, Edward, 224 

Patterson, Robert, 442 

Patterson, William, 224, 442; Mrs. 

Patterson, 131 
Patton, Comd. and Mrs. John B., 

Patten, John Mercer, 263 
Paulding. Adm. Hiram, 245 
Paulding, Mr. and Mrs. James K., 

Paullin, Charles O., 68, 197 
Paulson, Kate C. M.. 293 
Payne. Anna, see Mrs. James H. 

Causten, Tr. 
Payne. Dolly P. M.. 485 
Payne, Isaac, 10, 24, 29, 84 
Payne, Tohn, 9. 10, 11, 13, 16 
Payne, Mrs. Tohn. 9. 10, 16, 18. 

24, 29. 32. 88, 90 
Payne Tohn C. 10, 88, 128. 332. 

466, 485 
Pavne, Temple. 10. 29 
Pavne, Walter, 10, 11 


NAME INDEX— Continued 

Payne, William, 10, 306 
Paynter, Mrs. Thomas II., 499 
Peacock, Virginia Tatnall, 113, 

258, 493 
Peale, James, 472, 473, 504 
Peale, James, 471'. 41'A. 505 
Pearson, Joseph, 110, 111, 401, 

402; Mrs. Pearson. 140, 401 
Pemberton, Betsey, 80, 82, 84 
Pemberton, Isaac, SI 
Percival, Sarah, 369 
Perot, Mrs. Joseph. 360 
Peter, Mrs. William (wife of Brit- 
ish Consul). 309 
Peter, Mrs. R. A., 499 
Peters, Mrs. Andrew T., 499 
Peters, Sallv, 369 
Peyton, Bernard, 322 
Peyton, Mrs. Eliza, 265 
Phelps, Mrs. Almira H. L.. 415 
Physic, Dr. Philip Sync. 77, 79 
Pichon, Louis Andre, 43. 73. 228 
Pichon, Mme. Louis Andre, 52, 60, 

82, 228 
Pierrcpont, .Mrs. Edwards, 504 
Pile, Mr. and Mrs. Richard P., 351 
Pinkney, William, 158 
Pleasanton, Stephen, 450, 471 ; 

Mrs. Pleasanton, 287, 471; Miss 

Belle Pleasanton. 310 
Plitt, Sophie Wager, 422, 471 
Poindexter, George, 138 
Poinsett, Toel R., 286. 471; Mrs. 

Poinsett, 286. 287, 471 
Polk, James Knox, 359, 374. 376, 

449, 450 
Polk, Mrs. James Knox, 287. 374, 

375, 387, 389, 463 
Polk, Ma;. William -H., 353, 354 
Pomerene, Mrs. Atlee, 499 
Poole, Mrs. Fitch, 65 
Poor, Moses, 436 

Poore, Ben. Perley, 291, 316, 381 
Pope, Francis, 72 
Porter, Como. David, 197 
Porter, Sarah Harvey. 236, 340 
Poultney, Nancv. 311 
Preston, Mrs. Francis, 140, 295 
Preston, William C, 139, 140, 279. 

286, 291. 295. 297, 457 
Preston, Mrs. William C, 286. 

Prince, Mr. and Mrs. William E.. 

Proctor, Lucien Brock, 336 
Proud, Robert. 14 
Pvne. Rev. Smith, 344, 364, 365, 

373, 450, 486; Mrs. Pyne, 344 

Rainev, Mrs. Henrv T.. 498 
Raker, Mrs. John E., 499 
Ralston, Mrs. S. W., 498, 499 
Ramsav, Dr. David, 296 
Randall, Mrs. Alex., 499 
Randall, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas. 254 
Randolph. John, 131, 229, 271 
Randolph, Mrs. Thomas M., 50, 

82, 84, 105, 344. 397 
Ransdell, Mrs. Joseph E., 499 
Reading, Mrs. Pierson B. (Fannie 

W.), 473, 486, 490 
Redd, Mrs. Walton, 473 

Reilly, Mrs. Thomas L., 499 
Riggs, Mrs. George W., 471 
Ringgold, Maria, 125 
Ringgold. Tench, 171, 175 
Ripley, Gen. Eleazar W., 194 
Ritchie, Thomas 35S, 137, 450; 

Mrs. Ritchie. 471 
Rittcnliouse, Mr. and Mrs. Charles 

Rivardi, Mme., 1"1 
Rives, William C, 263, 279. 306, 

."..".7, 458, 459; Mrs. Rhus. 306, 

357: Miss Amelia S. Rives, 358 
Robbins, Asher, 279 
Roberts, Charles, 76, 90, 95, 234 
Robinson, Mr. and Mrs. Tames, 471 
Rockwell, John A., 432 
Rodgers, Como. John, 68, 177, 197, 

209, 349, 471; Mrs. Rodgers, 

Rodgers, Mrs. S. S., 4H!i 
Rogers, Mrs. Lloyd N. (Miss Hay), 

Roosevelt. James J., 298, 305, 417; 

Mrs. Roosevelt, 305, 41 7 
Roosevelt, Theodore, 476 
Ross, Gen. Robert, 163 
Ross, Elizabeth, 473 
Royall. Ann, 236, 340, 454, 481 
Rush. Madison, 315; Richard, 169, 

171, 172, 175, 176, 179, 181, 

182, 184, 234, 315, 359; Mrs. 

Rush. 234, 315, 326 
Russell, Col., 395; Miss Josephine 

D. Russell, 395 
Russell, Jonathan, 137, 159, 194 
Russell, Mrs. Toseph J., 499 
Russell, Sir William Howard. 378 

Sansom. Billey, 11; Josey. 11 
Sargeant, Mrs. Tohn. 369 
Sargent, Nathan, 207. 337 
Saunders, Romulus M., .".29 
Schroeder, Adm. Seaton, 473, 506 
Scott. Gen. Winfield, 194, 356, 400, 

432. 471; Mrs. Scott (Miss 

Mayo), 140. 141, 152, 471; Miss 

Cornelia Scott, 400 
Scull, Sarah, 161. 162 
Seaton, William W., 137. 195, 196, 

209, 316, 318, 383j 390, 434, 

436, 447, 453 
Seaton, Mrs. William W.. 92. 149. 

157, 197. 395. 398, 434. 469 
Sedcwick, Catherine M., 258 
Serurier, M., 122, 123, 131, 149. 

445; Mme. Serurier, 26.". 
Sewall, Dr. Thomas, 304, 305, 344, 

471: Mrs. Sewall, 304 
Shakleford, Mrs. Dorscy W., 499 
Sharp, Mrs. William G., 499 
Sharpless, Tames, 500 
Shelby, Gen. Isaac, 272 
Sherwood, Mrs. Isaac R., 499 
Shubrick. Adm. and Mrs. William 

B., 471 
Sibley, Dr. John, 369 
Sigourney, Charles, 414, 415 
Sigourney, Mrs. Charles (Lydia H.), 

220, 414'6 
Sims, Mrs. Thetus W., 499 
Sim. Dr. Thomas. 241. 243 


NAME INDEX— Continued 

Singleton, Esther, 191'3, 195, 308, 

354, 373, 376, 468 
Singleton, Mrs. Richard, 298 
Sioussat, John, 165, 184, 188, 289, 
300, 325, 327; Mrs. Sioussat, 
Slaughter, Gen. James E., 321 
Smith, Mrs. Charles B„ 499 
Smith, Hal H., 321 
Smith, Mrs. Hoke, 499 
Smith. T. Henley, 504 
Smith, John, 138, 139; Miss Smith 
(dau. Sen. Smith, N. Y.), 115, 
Smith, Jonathan B. H., 432 
Smith, Richard, 280, 346, 347, 
372, 373, 420, 426, 431'3, 454 
Smith, Robert, 41, 59, 105, 123; 

Mrs. Smith, 59, 60, 105 
Smith, Rosalie N., 440 
Smith, Samuel H., 39, 40, 54, 87, 
174, 176, 304, 371; Miss Susan 
B. Smith, 87 
Smith, Mrs. Samuel H., 39-41, 44, 
45, 52, 54, 59-61, 65, 87, 91, 
92, 99-102, 107, 108, 158, 168, 
174, 176, 196, 226, 228, 229, 
233, 239, 252, 255, 256, 263, 
264, 267, 288, 304, 340, 381, 
436, 468, 469 
Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L., 

Smith, Mrs. William, 37 
Smith, Walter, 385 
Soper, R., 505 
South, Mrs. Jerry C, 499 
Southard, Samuel M., 225, 310, 

Spencer, John C, 336, 337, 373 
Spencer, Mrs. John C, 337. 345, 

Spotswood, Alexander, 10 
Stelle, Pontius D., 39 
Stephens, Alexander H., 420, 432, 

Stephens, Mrs. Ann S., 415 
Stephens, Mrs. John H., 499 
Steuben, Baron von, 98 
Stevenson, Andrew, 223, 236, 237, 

245, 269 
Stevenson, Mrs. Andrew (Sally 
Coles), 140, 141, 152, 188, 189, 
211, 222, 223, 236, 245, 269 
Stevenson, Miss Belle, 310 
Stewart, Como. Charles, 145 
Stockton, Capt. Robert F., U. S. 
N., 333, 334, 471; Mrs. Stock- 
ton, 471 
Stoddert, Benjamin, 37, 44: Miss 

Stoddert, 89 
Stokes, Tonathan, 77 
Stone, Mrs. William T., 499 
Stuart, Gilbert, 73, 132, 221, 248. 
406, 407, 433, 454, 472, 473, 
Swanson, Mrs. Claude A., 499 
Sweet, Mrs. Edwin F., 499 
Svng. P., 81 

Tacon. Francisco. 284 
Taggart, Hugh T., 72, 249 

Tayloe, Benjamin Ogle, 62, 78. 

136, 165, 272, 300, 459; Mrs. 

Tayloe, 262, 300, 305, 323, 345 

Tayloe, John, 56, 101, 152, 1S5'7, 

209; Mrs. Tayloe, 122, 126- 

Miss Tayloe, 298 

Taylor, Mrs. Edward T., 498, 499 

Taylor, Hannis, 321 

Taylor, Gen. James, 127, 306; 

Mrs. Taylor, 306 
Taylor, Mrs. M. C, 499 
Thomas, Mrs. (Dr.) J. M., 432, 

Thompson, Jonah, 44 
Thompson, Mrs. Joel, 166 
Thompson, Jacob, 329 
Thomson, Mrs. J. Ross, 473 
Thornton, Dr. William, 37, 43, 44 
46, 47, 51, 54, 55, 57, 58, 62, 
73, 75, 78, 88, 102'4, 107, 120, 
121, 175-'7, 187, 225, 229, 288, 
401, 402, 473, 492, 493,' 505 
Thornton, Mrs. William, 37, 39, 
50, 51, 61, 66, 73, 83, 88, 97, 
102-'5, 111, 142, 174, 175, 177, 
189, 229, 247, 270, 292, 308, 
340, 364, 378, 401, 435, 468, 
473, 492, 493, 505 
Tillinghast, Thomas, 52 
Tindall, Dr. William, 469 
Tingey, Como. Thomas, 45, 68, 69, 
84, 100, 101, 177, 233; Mrs. 
Tingey, 67, 69, 84 
Todd, Charles Burr, 106, 120, 146 
Todd, George D., 127 
Todd, John, Sr., 14, 18; Alice, 14; 

James, 18; Mary, 14 
Todd, John, Jr., 14-'9, 32, 264 
Todd, Mrs. Tohn G., 447 
Todd, John Payne, 17, 18, 82, 88, 
94, 104, 105, 125, 128, 131, 
132, 138, 151, 159, 211, 213'5, 
217, 219, 224, 239, 242, 244, 
262, 268, 269, 281, 285, 288, 
306, 329, 330, 339, 343, 363, 
397, 419, 431'3, 454, 455, 458, 
Todd, Thomas, 127, 128, 211, 218, 

272, 331, 507 
Todd, Mrs. Thomas, 10, 15, 20, 
94, 114, 115, 125, 126, 128, 
131, 133, 164, 211, 271, 329, 
331, 407, 507 
Todd, William Temple, 17, 18 
Tombs, Mrs. Robert, 447 
Totten, Gen. Joseph G., 450 
Townsend, George Alfred, 258 
Trimble, Mrs. South, 499 
Trist, Nicholas P., 242, 397 
Trist, Mrs. Nicholas P., 105, 211, 

243, 397, 457 
Troubetzkoy, Amelia Rives, 357 
Turreau, de Garambonville, 77, 78, 
83, 102, 117; Mme. Turreau, 
78, 83 
Twining, Thomas, 39, 75 
Tyler, Benjamin O., 356 
Tyler, 'John, 450 
Tyler, Robert, 312 
Tyler, Mrs. Robert, 307'9, 311, 


NAME INDEX-Continued 

Underwood, Mrs. Oscar W. ( 497 
Upshur, Abel P., 333, 334 
Upton, Harriet Taylor, 13, 66, 146, 
147, 218, 371, 463, 485 

Van Buren, Abraham, 238, 291 
Van Buren, Mrs. Abraham, 291, 

292 298 
Van BuTen, Martin, 284, 286, 450, 

488; Martin, Jr.. 284 
Van Cortland, Philip, 132 
Vanderlyn, John, 504 
Van Ness, Cornelius P., 253, 255, 

Van Ness, John Peter, 74, 100, 

115, 117, 138, 252, 253, 256, 

257, 286, 287 
Van Ness, Mrs. John Peter, 116, 

125, 138, 192, 249, 251-'S, 267, 

381, 382. 473 
Van Ness, William P., 115 
Van Rensselaer, Elizabeth R., 471 
Van Zandt, N. H., 471 
Vaughan, Sir Charles, 267, 291 
Veitch, Richard, 44 
Voss, Nicholas, 46 

Wadsworth, Gen. Peleg, 65 
Walker, George, 16, 32, 33 
Walker, Mr. and Mrs. Robert T., 

Waller, William, 309 
Waller, Mrs. William (Miss E. P. 

Tyler), 309 
Warrington, Como. Lewis, 432, 

450, 471; Miss Warrington, 471 
Washington, Dr. and Mrs. Bailev. 

Washington, Bushrod, 349, 507 
Washington, Gen. George. 24, 63, 

76, 97, 98, 154, 166, 229, 242, 

250, 258, 359, 433, 487 
Washington, Mrs. George, 19, 20, 

75, 487 
Washineton, George Steptoe, 15, 

21, 22, 31. 77, 94, 114 
Washington, Harriot, 25 
Washington, Mrs. John Augustine, 

Washington, Lawrence, 77 
Washington, Thornton, 77 
Washington, William Augustine, 

Watmough, Mrs. James H., 472 
Watson, John F., 14 
Watson, Mrs. Clarence W., 499 
Watson, Winslow M.., 62 
Watterson, Georce, 111 
Way, Andrew, 187 
Webster. Daniel, 218. 280, 286, 

295, 316-'8, 320, 336, 390, 434, 

447, 461, 462 
Webster, Mrs. Daniel, 286, 317-'9, 


Webster, Fletcher, 317 

Weems, Rev. Mason L., 154, 156 

Weightman, Roger C, 102; Mrs. 

Weightman, 290; Miss Serena L. 

Weightman. 290 
Wellesley, Marquis of (Miss Mary 

Ann Caton), 125 
Wells, Polly, 11 

Wethered, Mr. and Mrs. John, 472 
Wharton, Anna Hollingsworth, 112, 

125, 126, 151, 154, 160, 167, 

169, 174, 315, 405, 468 
Wharton, Franklin, 100 
Whitall, Samuel, 349 
White, Alexander, 26, 27; Mrs. 

White, 27 
Whitney, M. W., 403 
Wickliffe, Mr. and Mrs. C. A., 472 
Wickliffe, Mrs. Robert C, 497, 499 
Wightt, Ann, 312, 381, 382 
Wilcox. Marv C. D., 270 
Willcock, 213 
Wilkes, Como. Charles, 136, 285, 

439: Mrs. Wilkes, 439 
Wilkes, Eliza, 285 
Wilkes, Tane, 285 
Wilkes, John, 136 
Wilkins, Mr. and Mrs. William, 

Wilkins, William W., 21. 23, 24 
Wilkinson, Gen. James, 140 
Williams, Col. John S., 162, 171 
Williams, Mrs. John Sharp, 498, 

Williams, Gen. Robert, 410, 494 
Williams, Mrs. Robert, 270, 409, 

410, 449, 461. 493'5, 504 
Williams, Wesley, 293 
Willis, Dr., 73, 211 
Willis, Mrs. Nelly C, 211, 212. 

Wilson, Mrs. Tyler, 499 
Wilson, Mrs. William B., 499 
Winder, Gen. William EL, 164. 

177, 182, 404 
Wincate, Mrs. Joseph F., 326 
Winstanley, 166 
Winston, Edmund, 10 
Winston, Mrs. Isaac, 66; Mrs. Win- 
ston, 332 
Winthrop, Robert C, 390, 472 
Wirt, William, 105, 186, 253: 

Mrs. Wirt. 186 
Wood, Joseph, 206, 207, 4S3, 505 
Woodbury, Mr. and Mrs. Levi, 

286, 472 
Wright, Robert, 137 
Wyatt, Thomas, 475 
Wyse, Mrs. W. F. E., 507 

Young, Mr. and Mrs. W., 472 
Yrujo, Marquis de Casa, 82, 133 
Yrujo, Marchioness de Casa (Sally 
McKean), 62, 82, 132. 133 


H 404 85 



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